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The coming decade of the employee

A good workforce is paramount to company’s success and employers are becoming increasingly required to develop methods of motivation to retain their staff. It has not always been the case however, that employees were such valuable assets. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, over 76 million highly educated Baby Boomers flooded the labor market. (Jay J. Jamrog) This increase in the labor pool meant that recruitment, selection, motivation and retention were relatively easy for companies, thus giving power over employees.

As corporate America entered the 1990’s, downsizing and a volition for a more efficient business free of waste further reflected that people were merely a resource and an expense to cut. A closer examination of labor trends towards the end of the century revealed a prediction made in 1986 of a study that had predicted skill shortages. (Workforce 2000) Now employers were becoming involved in a war for talent. Worried companies started to offer signing bonuses, life cycle benefit programs and increased general attention to workers needs.

The recession of 2001-2002 meant a return of normality but despite the economic slowdown many corporations still find it hard to attract and retain key talent. These problems need to be addressed and solved in order

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to attract a workforce that maximizes possible output whilst simultaneously providing adequate motivation to the employee that makes their role worthwhile. The article, “The Coming Decade of the Employee” asks, was the trend in the 1990’s in fact a long-term trend or just a bump in the road? (Jay J.

Jamrog) It is their opinion that we will see a change in the labor market over the next decade whereby the employees will become more wary of their talents and skills and demand more for their services. This will see a shift in change from employers holding the upper hand to the employees having the power. In making sure this shift materializes the war is very much in the hands of the youth of today. It is they who have the talents to warrant themselves choices and in a tight labor market like we experienced in the 1990’s they frustrate employers the most.

The young people entering the workforce over the next decade will have certain characteristics different to the Baby Boomers generation. Today people are much more comfortable with cultural diversity than previous generations. As the United States demographic profile becomes more diverse, so to must the workforce to adapt. Managers have to take this into account by attracting a more diverse workforce and one that can operate smoothly with different ethnicities.

With diversity comes communication barriers and misunderstandings. Previous generations, familiar with traditional classifications, would find it harder to adjust to diversity than young people who are more accustomed due to growing up in a more diverse environment. Companies need to realize that graduates look at how far advanced their workforce is with regard to women and minorities. It is an indication that there are no “walls” or “ceilings” within the company that will halt progression upwards.

Another difference in generations is that many employers would have been used to having their mothers at home when they returned home from school. These days’ children have to become more independent and often labeled latchkey kids because they let themselves in from school whilst their mothers are at work. Supervisors need to treat them with respect and dignity therefore due to the lack of supervision they received growing up. They also prefer open communication from leaders and like to forge ties, as well as having the ability to motivate and inspire to work.

Graduates also demand the latest technology to stay abreast of current demands. (Jay J. Jamrog) Loyalty and commitment has been on a decline recent research suggests and is directed at the inability of companies to provide stable jobs with the recent downsizing and lay-offs a concern of employees. To combat this problem retaining employees is a major issue for corporations as illustrated below by a survey showing the importance of aspects that help retain employees.

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