Staffing Statistics

If you thought finding good entry-level help was tough in this troublesome talent market, try locating a Chief Technology Officer or a Senior Director of Sales. Recruiting is a challenge in this labor drought, and recruiting executives is even more taxing. A recent study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. observes that "companies are about to be engaged in a war for senior level talent that will remain a defining characteristic of their competitive landscape for decades to come." The report's disconcerting conclusion is that most companies are ill-prepared for the executive recruiting challenge ahead, in that their Human Resources departments do not have the manpower or competitive knowledge to attract these individuals on their own.

McKinsey's study, which has appeared in the McKinsey Quarterly, focused on 77 large U.S. companies in various industries. The research team's focus was on the human resources department within each company and what their talent-building philosophies, practices, and challenges were. The team also surveyed nearly 400 corporate officers and 6,000 executives from the top ranks within these companies. In addition, the group conducted case studies of 20 companies that were perceived to have considerable talent.

Their findings revealed that a smaller supply of available executives is only part of the problem. These studies observe that "a more complex economy demands more sophisticated talent with global acumen, multi-cultural fluency, technological literacy, entrepreneurial skill, and the ability to manage increasingly delayered organizations." It is not surprising, then, to learn that fully three-quarters of the corporate officers surveyed said their companies had "insufficient talent" in most areas or were "chronically talent short across the board". Because of the changing needs imposed by the lagging economy, human resources departments are in great need of forming reliable and effective partnerships with third party executive search firms that can adequately represent their companyís opportunities in todayís volatile marketplace.

"The human capital shortage is right around the corner," remarked Jeff Taylor, chairman of Monster Inc., in a recent November 2002 press conference. An Indianapolis newspaper covering the event reported that Taylor warns employers to open their eyes. His concern and passion stems from the fact that nearly 70 million baby boomers will leave their jobs in the next 10-15 years. With only 40 million workers in line to replace their positions we are headed for a large, skilled-worker deficit. Rather than waiting to be hindered by this lingering event, Taylor believes employers should use the present economic slowdown as a time build marketshare by hiring the best available from the most sizable talent pool of qualified individuals in years.

A recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by year 2010 there will be a critical shortage of 10,033,000 skilled workers, confirming Taylorís concerns. An anticipated 167,754,000 jobs will be available with only 157,721,000 skilled individuals to fill them. This estimation is more than twice the deficit of 2000 when the bureau reported a shortage of 4,731,000 skilled individuals. The BLS believes these statistics indicate a future labor crisis that could be more threatening than those experienced in the past. The present concern is that the recent economic slowdown has caused employers to become inactive in their hiring and managing practices, creating disgruntle employees on the front-lines with no potential replacements in the wings.

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