Employment Update

The unemployment rate has dipped to 9.7 percent. That’s five straight months of job gains. But as we hear from Ed Mayberry, pent-up frustrations in the workforce may be leading to an upswing in lateral movement of employees.


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The economy gained 431,000 jobs, but temporary hiring of census workers helped boost the numbers.  The Recruiter Confidence Index can often forecast things to come.  Mark Anderson is with ExecuNet.

“It’s always been a leading indicator.  When companies start to rebound and start to invest on the executive level, they hire the chiefs first and then they fill out their teams.  And now about 30 percent of companies in our surveys are going to be adding executive level staff in the next six months, and that’s a sign that the companies are moving away from cutbacks and looking to starting to fill the talent gaps that they have, that are going to enable them to meet their growth.” 

The overall jobless rate of 9.7 per cent is largely the result of more than 300,000 people giving up their search for work.  Leo Espinoza is a partner with Korn/Ferry International’s Houston office.

“There are people that become, in essence it’s a dissatisfaction with the trend of the opportunity to have a job, and so they pull out of the job market.  And, in fact, their unemployment runs out, and so they’re not able to necessarily able to track all of those workers.  So in some cases, yes, it is someone that has been in the unemployment cycle for some time and they are not being considered in that overall number.” 

An April survey by Grant Thornton revealed that more than 60 percent of employees are currently looking for other options.  Jeff Stinson is with Global Human Resources Outsourcing.

“They’ve been asked to do more with less—some of them haven’t had pay raises in two or three years.  And I think when the employment picture improves, you’re gonna see a mass defection from their current companies.”

Ed: “Manager need to be aware of this and take this into account.  What can they do?  I mean, obviously raises, but what can the do or should be doing, to retain good employees?”

“Well, I’m going to tell you, Ed, at this point, if you haven’t been nurturing these employees for the past two or three years, it may be too late.  You know, there’s been a kind of a motivational technique that I’ve seen out in the marketplace which has been ‘just be glad you have a job.’  And that wears pretty thin after a while, and I think a lot of companies have not handled this well in the last three years, and I’m not sure that there’s a lot they can do as far as retention.”

Mark Anderson with ExecuNet agrees there are pent-up frustrations.

“Definitely shows up in our survey of executives.  Executives aren’t any different than anyone else.  They’re unhappy with the current situation,  There is definitely pent-up demand, as you’ve said.  We see it in our surveys where roughly 80 to 90 percent of executives would take calls from recruiters.  That’s normally about 30 percent, and so when the recovery gets more robust, you’re definitely going to see a lot more people voluntarily leaving positions and finding new opportunities.”  

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