This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

September 17, 2003

Employment Market Turbulence

There will be enough economic growth during the second half of 2003 and the first part of 2004 to create a significant number of jobs. This new energy in the employment market will stimulate movement of dissatisfied employees from their present positions to new opportunities.

Several studies suggest that as many as 30 to 40 percent of today's workers have already checked out: they are investing more attention to what their new jobs might be than they are to performance in their current positions. These employees have psychologically resigned, but still report for work every day. This phenomenon, which we call "warm chair attrition," is explained in our latest book "Impending Crisis: Too Many Jobs, Too Few People."

Substantial numbers of employees may be planning to leave, as soon as the economy improves. This situation calls for assertive action. We recommend a process that we call "rerecruiting." See

As more jobs open, applicants will become more discriminating. Selectivity will increase. People will pursue jobs with employers who appreciate them as individuals, communicate with them, are genuinely interested in them, and care about putting the right people for the right jobs.

These applicants are touchy. Because of the way they have been treated, emotions are close to the surface; tolerance for belligerence and arrogance is very thin. If people apply to a company and do not get a sincere, individualized response, they move to the next opportunity. Employers are learning that it is dangerous to assume that because a resume was received that the person who sent it is still interested. The employment field is becoming turbulent, dynamic, and increasingly fast.

For years, employers---especially those promoting jobs through the Internet---have ignored applicant inquiries, irritating applicants who have built a strong distrust of employers in general. As we move into the more turbulent employment market, workers receiving an automatic, one-size-fits-all response, will keep looking to find an employer where "one-size-fits-me." Employers will soon make major shifts in their recruiting strategies to reach out to prospective employees, in addition to struggling to hold on to their current employees.

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