Although I consistently read - and know from my own connections - that employers have a difficult time finding qualified staff, I also know that unemployment is still high and people are still frustrated with finding work. Technology jobs are booming but there is little job creation elsewhere. Although companies are experiencing record profits, ‘real’ unemployment in the US is estimated at about 16 percent and wages are stagnant.
There is a real disconnect between what companies report and current economic statistics. According to the PwC study, 54% of CEOs plan to work more closely with governments and educational institutions to develop training programs that will meet their requirements. Interestingly, the front page headline in The Seattle Times today is “Cuts hit classes that lead to jobs”. The story says due to state funding cuts, nine community college programs are being eliminated including in health care, business and manufacturing – areas where graduates are consistently in demand.
Besides working with schools and governments (although perhaps not so much in Seattle), the Global CEO Survey reports that companies are looking for new strategies to attract and keep the limited amount of talent pool that is currently available.
Poaching from competitors, an active practice, leads to soaring salaries. Not surprisingly, this occurs most often among technical positions and those with executive experience. Accountants, health care workers, and industrial jobs in manufacturing, automotive, and chemicals are also in high demand.
Besides salaries, companies are working to come up with innovative ideas to attract young talent. Studies have shown that those in the Millennial generation choose training and development as their first choice of benefit three times more than cash bonuses. Ninety-eight percent of Millennials want to work with mentors and coaches.
They also value a work-life balance more than previous generations and, as one client recently mentioned to me, her Millennial employees are not willing to put in the 60 to 80 hours per week that her generation did when first starting out. (She admired this trait, by the way, and believes that they are on the right track to developing a healthy balance between their work and personal lives.)
The culture of a company is an important consideration for potential new hires. Management must foster a learning environment where mistakes are acceptable and teamwork is supportive and creative. There must be opportunities for challenging work and career advancement.
The CEOs from the study were from 69 countries and a variety of industries and were surveyed in the fourth quarter of 2010. In answer to the question,” To what extent do you plan to change your people strategy in the following ways over the next 12 months?”, the following answers were cited most frequently:
1. Use more non-financial rewards to motivate staff
2. Deploy more staff to international assignments
3. Work with government/education systems to improve skills in the talent pool
4. Incentivise young workers differently than others
5. Change policies to attract and retain more women
6. Increasingly recruit and attempt to retain older workers
7. Set compensation limits for executive talent
8. Grow our contingent workforce faster than our full-time workforce
9. Relocate operations because of talent availability
CEOs: Step up and do what you say you are going to do. If you have record profits and your own salaries are higher than ever, what’s holding you back from instituting the practices necessary in order to provide good jobs in a motivating environment?
This is an opportunity for you to put into place new partnerships with your communities. Partnerships that generate strategic relationships that will lead to more profits and a pool of talent for you, and educational infrastructure, good jobs and a stronger economy for your communities.
And this is a chance for you to be known as an employer of choice. When you become one of the Best Companies to Work For you can be extra-choosy about who you hire, guaranteeing you have the right team to move you forward.