Futurist: Job Market Soon Will Favor Skilled Employees

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GRAPEVINE, TX -- Downsizing has created a favorable market for companies looking to hire, but a lack of skilled workers soon will reverse the trend back in favor of job seekers, futurist Roger Herman said yesterday.

Herman, CEO of The Herman Group, spoke at the National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment here yesterday. Though plenty of workers likely will be available in the coming years, he said, the bigger question is whether the available workers will have the skills companies need.

As the economy has recovered from the dot-com implosion, companies are growing and hiring again, Herman said. Unemployment in some regions is already low enough to create a competitive job market for employers, and the trend likely will continue.

The Herman Group issued a study last year showing that the job market in the Washington-Maryland-Virginia area already has flipped in favor of job seekers, he said.

Surveys show that up to 45 percent of employees are actively looking for new jobs, and those who aren't are "passively" looking -- not sending out resumes, but willing to entertain offers.

The problem is apparent in the print industry, Herman said. Printers can't find new sources of employees and look instead to take workers from their competitors.

A challenge for companies will be to begin to integrate "millennials," or people born after 1985, into the work force, Herman said. The latest generation spends a lot of time on the Internet, is accustomed to complex problem solving and looks to technology to solve issues they encounter. The industry needs to work with community colleges to ensure that new workers have crucial skills.

"Here's your homework assignment," he said. "You need to understand what these kids are doing."

Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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