Despite the layoffs generated by the world's economic
recession, thousands of jobs remain unfilled. Employers face difficulty
finding qualified people to fill jobs in a number of fields. The
healthcare industry is in serious need of nurses in all specialties,
radiological technicians, pharmacists, physical therapists, lab
workers, and support staff. Energy industry recruiters seek engineers,
geologists, and qualified operators. This need will be accentuated
as the people running nuclear energy plants retire-this natural
attrition will create a demand that will be hard to meet.
With security concerns increasing, there is a growing
need for competent personnel in both public and private sector organizations.
Consider recent decisions by the US government to hire thousands
of air marshals to provide protective services on airplanes and
to federalize airport security. Drawing from law enforcement and
private security resources to fill these positions will create vacancies
among employers who were already looking for more people to expand
Construction firms need welders, crane operators,
and engineers. Automotive collision repair shops have over 18,500
vacancies, according to a recent survey. Dot-com downsizing has
not met the needs of the information technology industry and other
high-tech organizations. There is a shortage of wireless network
technicians, supply chain integrators, and systems engineers. Manufacturers
need machinists and other skilled workers, including those who can
operate computer-controlled equipment. There is a developing opportunity
for more people to operate sophisticated printing presses. Service
technicians are in short supply in a number of fields including
photocopy machines and telecommunications systems.
Where will employers find people to hire for these
jobs? If they can't find qualified workers, companies will be forced
to hire people with aptitude and train them to perform the work
to be done. Improved selection techniques will be used to minimize
risks of wrong choices of people to put through expensive training
programs. People who are now unemployed, underemployed, or disemployed
will seek opportunities to learn new skills to prepare for new careers,
creating demand for training programs provided by private suppliers
and community colleges. The field of technical training will expand
to meet these emerging needs.
The Churning Has Begun!
As the economy heats up again, companies will begin
to rehire those employees who were laid off. New positions will
be created and recruiting will intensify to fill those jobs with
the best people available.
The first people to be hired in a reheating economy
will be key senior executives who are needed to lead the charge.
Current leaders will certainly be involved, but many organizations
will bring in new blood specifically charged with substantial growth.
Smart companies will strive for strong positioning on the leading
edge of the expansion.
More aggressive recruiting of executives has begun.
From a number of sources around the country, we have received indications
of significant movement-among recruiters, among executives accepting
new positions, and among relocation companies engaged to manage
their moves. This activity is the first step in the transformation
back to a lively economy, and it is quietly beginning.
The next targets of the recruiters will be middle
managers with specific talents. Depending on their needs, savvy
companies preparing for growth will seek experienced marketers,
sales professionals, manufacturing managers, logistics specialists,
and others, depending on the business of the firm.
Based on trends being carefully watched by the Consulting
Futurists at The Herman Group, we forecast an unprecedented churning
in the American labor marketplace, beginning in the third quarter
of 2002. As the economy heats up, refreshing opportunities and aggressive
recruiting will challenge loyalties. Wise employers will engage
in strategies to build positive relationships with their employees
now. The Herman Group also observes that more employers will invest
in training, development, and coaching efforts to strengthen the
bonds with their valued employees.
Economically, The Herman Group sees slow growth starting
in first quarter 2002, with more apparent signals surfacing in the
second quarter. Based on their research, they anticipate 4-5% growth
rate by fourth quarter. As the country gets back on track, latent
American optimism will resurface with the strong economic projections
laid out at the start of the decade. We'll move back into a boom
mentality, causing severe difficulties, as employers' demands for
workers cannot be met. The country is currently approximately five
million workers short, a figure that is exacerbated by the need
for competencies that are in short supply.