Current economic times are leading to a variety of challenges for employers. From the shrinking labor force, to retention, to the "free agent" mentality, the world of work is changing fast and furiously. "As we work in the trenches helping companies plan for and manage the talent they will need to compete, the myriad issues facing today's employers is virtually unparalleled," says Caela Farren, CEO of MasteryWorks.
Below is a list of what Farren believes are 10 amazing statistics on the changing world of work.
- According to the April 2001 Work Trends survey of 1,010 American workers by Rutgers University's John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, worker training is important. 97 percent of respondents indicated that continuing to enhance their job skills is important to them, with 71 percent calling it very important.
- By the year 2006, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 151 million jobs in the country, but only 141 million people to fill them.
- The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that high-tech IT jobs will more than double to 4 million in 2008 from 1.8 million in 1998. Of course, that does not mean that there will be enough capable workers to fill those positions. Research firm Data Corp. expects that more than half of the 820,000 job openings in the United States this year will go unfilled.
- The workforce is shrinking. Working women and baby boomers boosted the growth of the labor force in the 1970s, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But that growth has since been on the decline and is expected to continue shrinking through the first quarter of the century. The biggest part of the slowdown is expected to occur from 2015 to 2025 as baby boomers retire. The youngest members of that generation turn 65 in 2025.
- According to the University of California at San Francisco, only one of out three workers in California has a traditional "leave-your-home-in-the-morning-go-to-the-office" job.
- In tough economic times, free agents will suffer the most, right? Not necessarily. Northwestern University economist Charles F. Manski and University of Wisconsin economist John D. Straub studied 3,600 workers over a four-year time period. They found that "self-employed workers see themselves as facing less job insecurity than do those who work for others."
- "Strong Voices, Real Choices," a new book by Kate Purmal and Christine Bennett, reveals how some professional women have aced the act of balancing work with their family life. Published on the heels of an April 2001 study by Field Research and Collaborative Economics which cites balancing work with family or personal responsibilities as the number one source of stress for women in Silicon Valley. Survey respondents traded full-time work for a schedule averaging just 29 hours a week by working part-time or job sharing in a company, or as an independent consultant, otherwise known as a "free agent." 96 percent reported improvements in personal and family life, and 85 percent reported they are satisfied or very satisfied with their work-life balance.
- With roughly 16 million soloists, and 13 million micropreneurs, Free Agent Nation is larger than the entire public sector. Free agents outnumber all of the people who work for federal, state, county and local governments --- even when you include police officers and teachers. In fact, according to the Census Bureau's latest figures, 70 percent of businesses in the US have no paid employees.
- A recent study by Accenture confirms that the war for talent continues, despite the economic downturn. 100 percent of the executives polled by Accenture stated that they faced challenges in retaining workers and boosting performance. However, of the companies who said they needed to take initiative to retain employees, only one quarter are actually doing anything and most of those have used "one-off quick fixes."
- According to a Hewitt survey of 1,020 major employers, released in April, 2001, the percentage of employers offering some kind of work/life benefits continued to grow in 2001 despite the economic slowdown. 91 percent of companies offer some kind of childcare assistance; 48 percent offer some form of eldercare; 78 percent offer opportunities for personal and professional growth, including education reimbursement; 32 percent offer benefits to adoptive parents; and, 57 percent offer some kind of on-site personal services, ranging from ATM machines to dry cleaning and travel services.
Caela Farren, Ph.D. and principal of MasteryWorks, Inc. is a 30 year expert in career development for employees, managers and organizations. MasteryWorks, based in Annandale, VA, has been helping people design and develop their careers for the past 25 years.Farren is also the author of Who's Running Your Career? Creating Stable Work in Unstable Times (Bard Press).
To find out more about MasteryWorks go to their Web site at www.masteryworks.com or call Farren at (800) 229-5712.
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