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Road to recovery

The economic recovery may have been a long time coming but most economic commentators believe it is now well under way. In the US in particular a recent survey of both manufacturing and service sector activity showed a significant rise in the second quarter of 2003, whilst American corporate profits displayed the fastest growth in the last seven years, with a 15.3% year-on-year leap.-----And with the recovery will come significant movement in the US job market, according to a recent survey by the Virginia based Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) in conjunction with, published by The Wall Street Journal. Many employees have apparently been simply waiting for concrete proof of an economic upturn before getting back onto the jobs merry-go-round.-----Some 83% of the US executive employees interviewed felt that it was either "extremely likely" or "somewhat likely" that they would be looking for a new job as soon as the economy improved. And they were optimistic about prospects, with 42% of them expecting this improvement to take place within the next three to six months. Perhaps overly hopefully, given concerns about the retention of key individuals, this positive outlook was less widely shared by HR professionals, under a quarter (23%) of whom anticipated a rapid recovery. However under another quarter (or 22%) thought that the recovery would take more than a year.-----Tony Lee, the Editor-in-chief of, expressed some surprise at the level of executive employees planning to "jump ship" upon an economic rebound - but it seems that HR professionals are ahead of him, with over half (56%) of those interviewed already resigned to voluntary employee turnover rising over the next year.And that number increased significantly to nearly three-quarters or 71% in those larger organisations with more than 500 employees.-----The number one reason given for considering moving jobs was the classic one - money. But many of those interviewed, perhaps trapped by the downturn in an unsatisfactory position, expressed concerns about potential career development. And nearly a third were simply looking for a new work
experience.-----All of which presents a challenge to HR executives, who are already working hard to keep their best executives on board in an increasingly fluid market.The most common retention strategies cited include tuition reimbursement, competitive vacation and holiday benefits and (for 59% of respondents) a competitive salary. But perhaps more innovative approaches beyond the purely pecuniary will be needed. For as economic prospects improve it seems likely that the US is set for a period of "all change" at the executive level.

Date de dernière mise à jour : 08/01/2009 - 3:10 PM

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