Workforce and Workplace Forecasts For 2004

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  1. Employment Market Turbulence. More secure employees will stimulate unprecedented churning in the labor marketplace. This turbulence will threaten corporate stability and capacity to serve customers, particularly for employers who took employees for granted in recent years.
  2. Shift to Sellers' Market in Labor. Employers will face the most severe shortage of skilled labor in history. Corporations will become more aggressive to attract and hold top talent. People will change jobs to find -their personal Employer of Choice.
  3. Fluid International Job Movement. Economic issues and skilled labor shortages in the United States will move even more jobs to other countries. However, employers will discover that some situations are unsatisfactory and jobs will be returned.
  4. Retirement will Evaporate. Traditional retirement will continue its metamorphosis. Retirees will move into jobs in other fields, start their own businesses, and engage in other activities to remain active and productive.
  5. Training and Education will Accelerate. Corporate development programs will reach out to new employees and existing staff. Demand for vocational education will grow. Educators will be challenged to make major changes to produce graduates ready to be productive in a faster-moving world.
  6. Leadership Deficit will be Crippling. As employers discover serious inadequacies, leadership development will take on new importance. Up and coming managers will be expected to learn and practice leadership skills before assuming new positions.
  7. Flexible Employment will gain Popularity. As more people work flexible hours, work from home, and use technology to work for employers in distant locations, traditional work arrangements will further erode.
  8. Casual is Here to Stay. Despite some movement to return to more formality in the workplace, informality will dominate in clothing, culture, office décor, and workplace structural design.
  9. Advantage of Agility. Companies will re-create themselves to be more agile, nimble, and responsive to customers and employees. Relationships, resources, knowledge, and speed will become strategic weapons.
  10. Workers Becoming Independent. More people will become independent contractors, selling their services on a project, contract, or set-term basis. This movement will stimulate emergence of specialized staffing firms and electronic communities to connect workers with employers.

Copyright 2003 by The Herman Group. From "Herman Trend Alert," by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurists. (800) 227-3566 or

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