This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

March 8, 2006

Workforce Composition

As the growth of the workforce slows, employers will become more receptive to recruiting, hiring, and retaining a more diverse employee base. Expect to see gradual changes in the kinds of people employed, as well as adjustments in how employers and coworkers accommodate the expanding workforce.

The tightening employment market encourages employers to hire older workers, people with disabilities, workers with scheduling limitations, and others who are not normally the target of focused hiring.

With media campaigns from AARP, delayed benefits payouts from Social Security and pension plans, and other influences, we’ll see increasing emphasis on hiring and retaining older workers. A large proportion of older workers want to continue working. These seniors want to feel productive, useful, and valued. They still have much to contribute, they enjoy the social interaction, and they need the income. Employers need their expertise, experience, wisdom, reliability, and stability. This situation is win-win for all concerned. People who are already in their sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties will have a significant influence on our workforce and productivity in the years ahead.

Groups advocating for people with physical, mental, and psychological disabilities are thrilled with new interest from employers anxiously seeking to expand their workforces. These special workers, usually also quite productive, now have new and exciting opportunities to work in various settings…including their homes. Developing technology has substantially expanded the use of telecommuters. Telecommuting jobs are perfect for disabled workers; they have accommodations in their home environment to enable them to be efficient, effective, and comfortable while working. For those who choose to return to work in congregate settings, support is available initially and long-term.

Workers with scheduling constraints face varied challenges. Managing your life by an unforgiving calendar is not easy. Whether the demands are care of aging parents, care of a sibling or children, or just trying to be nice, it’s clear that the needs are there and must be addressed. Employees who must take off time from their work to fulfill personal responsibilities need high levels of flexibility.

Deliberate and focused policies to accommodate all employees will support a changing workforce.

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