This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

January 13, 2010

Job Satisfaction-Unemployment-Job Growth

Recently, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its monthly unemployment rate for November. Not surprisingly, the stated number was 10 percent---not including the discouraged-unemployed or the under-employed---both of which are substantial.

The Conference Board research group recently reported job satisfaction has fallen to a record low of 45 percent, the lowest level ever recorded in 22 years of surveys! Extrapolating from that number, more than half (55 percent) of US workers state that they are "dissatisfied" with their jobs. It is also logical that the most dissatisfied group is workers under the age of 25---64 percent of whom said they are unhappy in their jobs.

Given that many employees are juggling the work of departed workers, these statistics do not shock us.

Corporate America has sacrificed the health and well-being of its employee populations on the altar of profitability. Some would say they are "lucky to have jobs at all", while workers have a different view. According to well-respected reward and recognition guru Bob Nelson (, over 80 percent of today's workers report feeling over-worked and under-appreciated.

When the economy improves, we will again shift back to a sellers' market for labor. The result is later this year or early next year, we will see an unprecedented level of churning in the labor marketplace, as employees who are "corporate cocooning" escape the discomfort of the jobs they have been waiting to leave---in some cases---for years.

What is stopping job growth? We know that the bulk of job growth (estimated at 80 to 85 percent) takes place in small and medium-size firms; the entrepreneurs and business owners are also acting out of fear.

According to Ted Daywalt, President of VetJobs, the US' largest veterans' job board, they have several concerns. Among those fears are lack of access to capital―the banks simply aren't loaning, an increasingly onerous regulatory environment (especially regarding discrimination in hiring), and the health insurance mandate for small businesses.

Until these and their other concerns are addressed, we will see a continuing reticence to hire. This reticence is bound to slow the recovery.

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