This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

August 24, 2005

Young Entrepreneurs Drain Labor Pool

Early indications suggest that the Millennial Generation, born after 1985, has a strong orientation toward entrepreneurship. They feel confident that they can achieve great results--at least earn a satisfactory living---by going into business for themselves. This population cohort is showing itself to be self-aware, astute, creative, and comfortable taking the risks involved with businesses.

This scenario is a “good news---bad news” situations. While it is inspiring to see young people with a desire to create something, to try new business ventures while they are young, there is also a downside. These entrepreneurs, full of intellectual curiosity and energy, are often ideal employees for existing companies. However, if they are business for themselves, these unique human resources are usually not available to work for other employers. They are simply not interested.

Employers enjoying the fruits of an expanding economy are looking for competent, creative, and motivated people to come work with them. Among the labor pools they are tapping are recent college graduates---new entrants into the workforce. Many are also looking for other young people who are not necessarily college graduates. People who graduated from college a few years ago and now have some experience are attractive to recruiters. As employers search for the more desirable self-starters, they aggressively pursue candidates who are internally driven to be high achievers. This trait is consistent with entrepreneurs, so many of the recruiters’ targets are off their radar screen.

Faced with the difficulty of hiring a sufficient number of well-qualified employees, companies are outsourcing as many functions as they can. Often, the outsourcing process directs the work to small providers that have the expertise to perform the work. Entrepreneurial ventures, often led by partners that include recent graduates and others who are just slightly more seasoned, are well-positioned to catch serve the needs of companies anxious to outsource.

So, in an interesting twist of irony, employers who can not seem to hire entrepreneurial younger workers are feeding the businesses that keep those desired candidates out of the labor pool. Relationships---between those who pay and those who do---are changing.

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