Impending Crisis: Too Many Jobs, Too Few
Roger Herman, Tom Olivo & Joyce Gioia
FUTURECASTS online magazine
Vol. 5, No. 5, 5/1/03.
Human resources management:
| This book - for businesses, nonprofits and public
agencies - by a team of management consultants - covers a wide spectrum of
techniques for attracting and retaining employees - all employees - but
predominantly those with skills needed to stay abreast of the 21st century's
rapidly changing technological and business environment.
The authors contribute a sense of urgency to the subject and the reasoning behind that sense of urgency.
The benefits of large scale layoffs that cut costs and give a temporary boost to earnings and share prices may obscure fatal damage to the long run prospects of a business.
The book conveniently provides a fairly comprehensive
single source for the material. It explains the reasons for these measures
in a readily understandable manner suitable for use as a convenient tool for
educating management at all levels on this important matter. While much of this
is familiar to business consultants and experienced management, the authors contribute a sense of urgency
to the subject and the reasoning behind that sense of urgency.
| The authors expect a 10 million worker
shortfall by 2010, based on projections from Bureau of Labor statistics.
They point out that this trend has been developing for some time already due in
part to the nation's low birth rate. Difficulties in filling job slots will soon
be increased by the rising rates of retirement for the baby boom generation and
vibrant economic growth, and the increasing mobility and work expectations of
the young people entering the labor force. From an excess of 7 million workers
early in the 1980s, the economy had shifted already to an excess of well over
4.7 million jobs in the year 2000.
The market will deal with the problem in many ways. It will not only induce the shifting of production abroad - expand the use of outsourcing, telecommuting and part time employees - increase the employment of foreign workers and efforts to lure back retirees - but it will also weed out those entities that can't compete for needed skills.
The authors believe that both the causes of the trend and therefore the trend itself should continue for the foreseeable future.
The key variable concerns expectations that - any periodic or crisis downturn aside - the conditions for economic growth during the rest of the decade will be good. The authors point out that this decade will see the peak earning and spending years for the baby boom generation. As this drives the economy forward, and baby boomers retire, businesses will have increasing difficulties staffing up to take advantage of their increasing opportunities. (The factors stressed by the authors are certainly substantial enough to require consideration by all forecasters.)
| Skilled employees will be especially hard to
come by and
retain, but the shortages will exist at all levels. Young employees now
"feel that work should be fun, meaningful, and intrinsically
rewarding." It will take a vastly different approach to human resources to
attract and retain these people.
Jobs are now readily available through the internet, making job changes easy. Job seekers can search for "just the right employer." As the economy heats up, competitors will begin targeting each other's most competent employees, making retention more difficult.
Techniques for meeting the challenge:
| The book
covers leadership and management practices - organizational and business
practices - and relations with employees, customers and suppliers - and relates
these practices in a practical fashion to their impact on the bottom line. The
importance of staying abreast of changing conditions, especially changes in
technology and product - whether physical or service - is emphasized. Chapters
cover human resources techniques for attracting and retaining employees -
especially skilled employees - and strategic planning to meet future workforce
needs. A program for meeting these needs is provided.
More employees will need "cross-experience" in the organization to provide needed flexibility.
Organizations will have to plan ahead - to engage
in "strategic staffing" - to be sure they have the required skills
trained and on hand for future needs. More employees will need
"cross-experience" in the organization to provide needed flexibility.
Valued employees must be accommodated in their personal needs, satisfied in
their opportunities for training and growth, and provided with relationships
with supervisors and fellow employees that they find pleasant. Older workers,
and especially women, will have to be accommodated. Single parent employees and
employees whose spouses also work will also have special needs.
Managers will have to be able to "build cooperation and collaboration." They must be able to keep abreast of technological developments.
Success in the future will be built around small
flexible "mission driven" corporations, employing as needed "an
ever-changing body of contingent workers - professionals as well as
functionaries, insourced and outsourced suppliers, vertical and horizontal
partnerships, and strategic alliances." Managers will have to be able to
"build cooperation and collaboration." They must be able to keep
abreast of technological developments. Organizations will have to provide
training for their employees that extends from skill enhancements for veteran
employees to remedial education for recent hires - to make up for the woeful
inadequacies of public education.
It is the most talented that are most likely to leave - the most experienced that are most costly to lose.
The costs of employee turnover - both after
employees leave and by performance degradation while they are preparing to leave
- are especially stressed by the authors. It is the most talented that are most
likely to leave - the most experienced that are most costly to lose.
Health care industry experience:
|The authors have extensive experience with the health care industry and naturally draw on this experience to provide a prominent example of things to come. However, examples from other industries are also provided.
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Copyright © 2003 Dan Blatt