This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

April 2, 2008

U.S. Employee Confidence Index Declines

The Spherion Employee Confidence Index, a monthly measure of workers' confidence in their personal employment situation, fell for the seventh consecutive time last month. With this decline, it reached the lowest level since the survey's inception in 2004.

We see two reasons for this downturn: first, the United States has experienced negative job creation for the last two months, last month losing 63,000 jobs, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics; second, the media continues to beat the drum of doom and gloom, because "Bad news sells." We have written about the media's effect before. See The Effects of Fear from 8/15/07.

Supporting this fact, this latest Spherion survey also reported that fewer employees expect to look for a new job during the next year. This finding reinforces the existence of the passive job market and indicates that recruiters will be seeking currently employed workers in greater numbers. These people also feel a greater sense of confidence about the future of their current employers.

Many Baby Boomers retirements are, in fact, often "recareering" instead. See our previous Herman Trend Alert, Baby Boomers Re-careering from 5/23/07. All of the major players: Adecco, Manpower, Kelly, and Spherion now offer their clients the options of rehiring their retired employees as "consultants", thus protecting them from certain legal liabilities. Many recareering Boomers are looking for project-based work, giving their employers the advantage of not hiring them as full-time, permanent employees on the payroll.

The bottom line problem is that there is still a widespread skilled labor shortage. Employers in most industries still have a hard time finding qualified workers. Wise employers are already looking for other opportunities for their valued employees within their organizations; thus, Baby Boomers may leave their high stress, high responsibility jobs and still benefit their long-term employers with their service. A recent Spherion Emerging Work Force Study reported that 80 percent of Boomer retirees "really do want to work again in some way". They want to keep being productive.

Expect more employers around the globe to get creative about offering flexible work arrangements for their "retiring" Baby Boomers. This creativity will be a major advantage for these enlightened employers.

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