This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0
 

  Press Release
For Immediate Release
3/17/05
Contact: Roger Herman

Unemployment Numbers Can Be Deceiving

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the new unemployment numbers, coupling the announcement with use of a new method of calculation of the percentage of people who are unemployed.

The percentage rates are higher now, with the new calculation methods, than they have been in the past. It would be easy to look quickly at the numbers and conclude that more people are unemployed than were out of work last month. "This perspective might lead employers to believe that the labor market is not as tight as expected, that more people are available to be recruited for the thousands of job openings that remain unfilled," notes Joyce Gioia, president of The Herman Group, a firm of workforce trend watchers based in Greensboro, North Carolina.

"Looking at the numbers through rose-colored glasses would be a serious mistake for employers," warns Roger Herman, CEO of The Herman Group.This misimpression could generate a false sense of security about the strength of the employment market. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics has changed the lenses, the picture remains the same. In fact, indications are that the situation is getting more dangerous for employers.

There is still a serious shortage of skilled workers in the United States. There is a troubling shortage of professionals, especially senior executives and leaders in information technology, healthcare, education, and advanced manufacturing. Even retained search recruiters are having almost surprising difficulty finding candidates who are qualified to fill mission-critical positions for their clients, says Gioia.

Complicating the employment situation is a significant increase in employee turnover. Employers are reporting a rise in the number of departures—experienced workers who take intellectual capital, industry knowledge, expertise, and customer relationships with them. Morale, already fragile, is suffering at a lot of companies, affecting productivity and workforce stability. Corporate leaders are beginning to explore employee retention strategies much more aggressively, according to research conducted by The Herman Group.

"The playing field is changing and the rules are changing—rapidly," said Herman. Surveys about employee retention, satisfaction, and career management attitudes spell risk for employers. "While we anticipate the most severe shortage of skilled workers in history, it’s important to look beyond the numbers to influential changes in the employment environment, structure, and measurement. We live in a different world than we did even last year, and most employers are still operating with old thinking."

The Herman Group is a firm of consulting futurists concentrating on workforce and workplace trends and their implications. Emphasis is placed on employee selection and retention as critical strategies. Included in the firm are researchers, professional speakers, authors, and consultants. The Herman Group is based in Greensboro, NC, with affiliates in Sao Paulo, Melbourne, Hong Kong, and Port Louis, Mauritius. Contact Joyce Gioia-Herman at 336-210-3548 or e-mail: joyce@hermangroup.com.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


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