This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

March 29, 2006

Dilemma of the NEETs

The current shift in the employment market is exciting and invigorating for some. Others are experiencing frustration, disillusionment, and irritation at the situation. The people caught in the middle, feeling disconnected, are being described as the NEETs---Not in Education, Employment, or Training.

The dominant perspective being seen in a number of nations is that these folks are in their early thirties, fairly well educated, and trapped in jobs that are the result of mismatching of new employees' aspirations with the needs of their employers. This problem is attributed to college graduates' hasty choice of employers during what a Japanese newspaper recently described as the “Ice Age for Job Hunters”---the period of the slow economy. These workers will be more careful in their next choices of employers…if they can find the opportunities they seek.

Employers are actively recruiting entry level workers who will be moved up in the company, succeeding those existing employees who will be promoted. Promotions will come as a consequence of growth, replacement of departing talent, and/or employee retention strategies. Older workers are asked to stay as employers realize the irreplaceable value of their knowledge, wisdom, and experience.

Lost in this picture are the employees in the middle---the people in their thirties, forties, and fifties who do not fit into either of these categories, NEETs. If they are employed, most would describe their jobs as a pause in their careers. They do not feel forward movement and are merely parked, waiting for an opportunity to escape. These employees are a perfect example of what we describe as “warm chair attrition”---they show up physically, but their hearts are not in their work. They are not happy being sidetracked and are anxious to find meaningful employment.

Eventually, employers will recruit from this valuable segment of the workforce. Hiring and assimilating NEETs will not be easy. Coming into middle-range positions in their new companies, they will be seen as both valuable assets and outsiders who may need to be force-fit into their roles. Adjustments will be necessary by both employer and employee to achieve comfort and productivity.

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