Your Workforce by Roger Herman

True Or False

Is a critical labor shortage lurking around the corner? Is there an impending crisis we need to pay attention to now?

"What employers will face in the next eight years will make the tight labor market of the late 1990s look like a practice session," said Roger Herman, Joyce Gioia, and Tom Olivo, co-authors of "Impending Crisis, Too Many Jobs, Too Few People." (Oakhill Press, October 2002).

"The labor shortage in this decade will be considerably more severe than anything we have experienced in history," offered Mr. Olivo. "According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there will be a shortage of 10,033,000 workers in 2010-just over seven years away. This critical shortage is the result of having 167,524,000 jobs available and only 157,721,000 people to fill them."

Impending Crisis: Too Many Jobs, Too Few People is a wake-up call for corporate leaders. The book presents the warning, the evidence and advice for employers.

The authors anticipate that "An unprecedented churning in the employment market may begin as early as the fourth quarter of 2002 and become more intense during the first part of 2003. "The economy is heating up and the growing is masked by the fluctuations of the stock market which is more of a gambling operation than an indicator of economic health," said Mr. Olivo. "As the economy improves, more jobs will be created; people will move from one job to another to grow their careers and to escape employers and supervisors who just don't get it."

"To compete, to attract and retain top talent, employers will have to focus much more intently on the criteria used by desirable workers in making their choices," he continued.

"Marketability will become much more important to workers. Demand for education and training will increase, with learning opportunities provided by employers, unions, colleges and universities. People will want to maintain and strengthen their skills to stay competitive...and to be able to driver their own careers. No more will workers place their careers in the hands of employers," Mr. Olivo said.

As business strategists who advise on workforce and workplace issues, particularly employee retention, report, that some employers will heed the warning and follow the advice; others will become extinct when they simply don't have enough employees to get the work done.

Roger Herman is owner of The Herman Group, Greensboro, NC and is a specialist in employee retention.

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