The most recent employment trend is the markets' extreme variability from month to month – you might see a hiring increase in July with August’s hiring being far below expectations. For those seeking employment, this trend has made for an annoying job search.
Also annoyed are employers because, in addition to the trend of variability, the U.S. workforce is shrinking.
Why the Shrinking Workforce?
The shrinking workforce is happening for two reasons:
- a decrease in immigration
- an increase in the number of baby boomers retiring
This makes filling jobs difficult for employers – not only are there fewer potential employees to choose from, the ones who are available don’t have the experience or skills businesses need to grow at their desired rate.
Making matters even worse is productivity – or, rather, the lack thereof – as it has never returned to the levels seen before the recession of the late 2000s. Unfortunately, some businesses are shooting themselves in the foot in this regard by refusing to partake in new technologies that can increase productivity.
What’s the Solution?
The variable hiring trends and shrinking labor force have caused reduced economic growth: the GDP’s average growth from 2008 to 2013 was about 0.73%, whereas the average growth between 1998 and 2007 was 2.99%.
The solution is to start utilizing the available labor force, which is increasingly made up of young people, most notably the “millennial” generation. This, of course, will require the business community to adjust how they approach hiring and managing new employees, but utilizing the available labor force will improve productivity and help the economy.
The Growth of Contingent Labor
Some companies have beaten the downtrend with temporary workers. According to the Courier Press, one of the fastest growing parts of the workforce has been contract labor; since 2009, that workforce segment has grown to nearly 3 million workers – an increase of more than 50%.
The temporary worker strategy offers companies a sense of flexibility when their business demands expand, as it allows employers to utilize extra workers on an as-needed basis versus making long-term employment commitments in the face of an uncertain economy. For job seekers, this could be successful means of securing employment; with contract work growing so quickly, opportunities for jobs will only increase.
The key in both instances – that is, for employer and employee – is using the right strategy. Some temporary staffing agencies send workers to job sites and abandon them with no further contact. That situation benefits neither party, as the employee may have no experience in the field and the employer is therefore stuck with an unproductive worker.
When you use performance-based labor solutions, however, that doesn’t happen. With on-site training provided by the staffer, workers can increase their productivity while simultaneously gaining the experience they need for today's economic climate.
In this way, the employment climate of the country becomes more productive, thereby helping the economy as a whole.