Job Market – 2008 and Beyond – March 28, 2008


As we research the current job market situation, one term standouts predominately; “Baby Boomers”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, federal government employment is expected to decrease by 3.7 percent by 2016. Though there will still be several thousands of federal vacancies due to baby boomer retirements.
This trend is consistent throughout the corporate sector as well, and in various industries.
In my 15 years of recruiting, I have seen all types of economic situations that play a major role in determining the number of job openings vs. the number of qualified, available candidates. There never seems to be a perfect balance. We are always forced to adjust our business strategies to compensate for a shortage in one area or the other. We are able to, however, develop an understanding of the economy and implement best practices to create a sound business plan which will impact how a company manages the flow of its workforce.
However, this situation with the mass exiting of the Baby Boomer population is something that we have not seen in the past. I have spoken to companies who are really scratching their heads when they look at their upcoming retirement schedule. These companies are having a hard time figuring out how to fill these large gaps with qualified employees in order to maintain their current level of experience and talent.
Currently there is already a tight labor market. The number of job openings is exceeding the number of successful, qualified candidates. We combine that with the current situation that there is 1.7 million less younger adult workers in our workforce, age range of 25-40, compared to past years. So, that is 1.7 million less workers to replace the estimated 77 million baby boomers who will be eligible for retirement now and in the near future. Now it becomes a simple situation of supply and demand. The demand of qualified, successful professionals is high for most companies. And, the supply of these professionals could be at an all time low in the next few years.
There is no doubt we will see an increase in marketing awareness to attract talent, and companies to promote their environment, culture, and career opportunities to this shrinking candidate market. Companies should begin to plan now on how to recruit and retain their talent as well as how to adjust and streamline their hiring processes in order to standout above their competition.
Traditionally, the strongest companies always look at their staff as their greatest asset. So being able to hire the ‘best of the best’ will be even more critical as we face a potential economic tightening, and a shortage of our best assets, our qualified employees.
* Next Month I will look at how the Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y employees are impacting our workplace environment, and thoughts on how to recruit and manage the different groups.

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