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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
A look at current trends and data
Article Type: Research and results From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 9, Issue 5
Recession leaving its impact on the workforce
The worst of the recession may be over, but its impact on the workforce and employment looks to be deep and long lasting. This is according to the results of research from global professional services company, Towers Watson.
The Global Workforce Study, a survey of employee attitudes and workplace trends, confirms that the recession has fundamentally altered the way employees view their work and leaders. In stark contrast to earlier studies, the 2010 results, which covered 20,000 employees from private sector organizations across 22 countries, demonstrate employees have dramatically lowered career expectations. Advancement now takes a back seat to a desire for workplace security and stability.
Some 62 percent said they are willing to put a great deal of effort beyond what is normally expected to help their organization be successful and only 12 percent are actively looking for another job. However, only 39 percent believe their senior leaders are trustworthy and 30 percent believe their organizations did not treat their employees fairly in the last 12 months. Cost, risk and responsibility for employees’ financial security, wellbeing and career development has shifted further to the individual and while on a rational level most employees understand this change they do not feel fully equipped to deal with it.
Employees looking for security
Eight out of ten employees want to settle into a job, with roughly half saying they want to work for a single company their entire career and the rest wanting to work for no more than three companies. Unsurprising, given the current economic climate, job security is high on many peoples’ agendas – a secure and stable position is regarded as important by 81 percent of employees. But other factors are also considered key: 59 percent want a wide range of jobs and experiences, 58 percent want the opportunity to rapidly develop their skills and abilities and 56 percent are looking for substantially higher levels of pay.
As might be expected, age has an influence on the motivations of employees, with workers under 25 more interested in career advancement opportunities and, interestingly, work life balance and flexible work hours. This contrasts with the focus on job security and better pensions for older workers.
Some 12 percent of people are actively looking for another job, with a further 4 percent having made plans to do so. But most are currently not looking for another job – 46 percent have no plans to leave while a further 37 percent are not looking though would consider another offer if one presented itself.
New demands on employers
The recent tough times and the current climate of uncertainty have also created a longing for leaders who “connect” with the workforce. Trustworthiness is rated by employees as the most important attribute of senior business leaders – cited by 71 percent of employees. Next comes care about the well-being of others (62 percent), being highly visible to employees (56 percent) and encouraging the development of employees (50 percent). Yet the roles that most senior leaders would consider to be crucial are not highly rated by employees – promoting the brand (22 percent), positioning the organization to compete in the global business environment (24 percent) and keeping a high profile outside the organization (13 percent).
According to Towers Watson, what worked for an organization pre-recession will not cut it in today’s workplace. Fundamental changes in both the employee/employer contract and employees’ own priorities make a “return to normal” nearly impossible. Instead, organizations must hone their ability to educate employees in self-reliance, fostering within each person the knowledge and confidence necessary to effectively manage their careers and their financial future outside the safety net provided in the past.
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Diversity should be embedded in talent management strategies
Diversity should be threaded through all talent management activities and strategies so organizations can reap the benefits of accessing and developing talent from the widest possible pool. This is the main finding of a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) research report, Opening Up Talent for Business Success: Integrating Talent Management and Diversity.
The research suggests that organizations, however, are not yet up to speed. Those that are dragging their feet are encouraged to catch up with the best in the field to ensure that they fully utilize the skills of all their employees in ways that are aligned to business objectives. As such, organizations are advised to recruit and develop a whole wealth of diverse groups to nurture the unique perspectives they can bring. The research explores what is going on in UK-based organizations – through a series of structured focus groups of over 100 people, with a variety of HR directors, diversity and talent professionals – and adds to an increasing body of knowledge that places talent management as the top business concern in all economic sectors.
Five examples of good practice are also offered from Credit Suisse, BT, NHS Tower Hamlets, the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games Ltd (LOCOG Ltd), and the Guardian Media Group – organizations that all go far beyond compliance with discrimination law. The research demonstrates how they create an inclusive and open workplace by aiming for a seamless approach to the way they attract and develop people with the skills, abilities and potential to contribute their best.
For more information
A copy of Opening Up Talent for Business Success: Integrating Talent Management and Diversity is available to download from the CIPD website at: www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/dvsequl/general/_talent_business_success
Employee engagement changed post-recession
The factors that contribute to employee engagement have shifted post-recession, according to a report released in April by global executive network and consultancy, Corporate Executive Board (CEB). The report, Building a Competitive Employment Value Proposition in Europe, is based on a survey of 30,000 business professionals across Europe and reveals that this group’s satisfaction with its organization’s Employment Value Proposition (EVP) has declined by an average of 14 percent since the end of 2006.
CEB defines EVP as the set of attributes that the labor market perceives to be the value they gain through employment within an organization, which in turn directly impacts on each organization’s ability to attract candidates and engage employees. According to CEB the recession has considerably eroded organizations’ EVP delivery, the result being a far greater impact on employee engagement than on candidate attraction.
According to CEB’s research, the key drivers in attracting external talent have not changed greatly since 2006, while there has been far greater change in the drivers of employee engagement. The research has found that the ability for employees to work on projects that align with their personal interests is now the most important driver for employee engagement. In 2006 this was ranked as only the tenth most important driver. The quality of colleagues has also become significantly more important in driving employee engagement, rising from being the seventeenth most important factor to fourth place over the past three years
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Top talent looks to work abroad
Top professionals want to move abroad to advance their career in a highly competitive global market. This is one of the findings of the 2010 Hydrogen Global Professionals on the Move Report, conducted for Hydrogen Group by a consultancy project team from ESCP Europe business school. For 60 percent of respondents the recession has had “no impact” on their willingness to move overseas, and 94 percent are either already working internationally, or want to do so.
The report offers insight into the mindset and motivations of highly qualified professionals at a time of uncertainty and flux in the global recruitment market. The research involved 3,155 mid- to senior-level professionals earning an average salary of $125,000 USD, with most holding a professional qualification or above.
It uncovers a clear willingness of professionals to work abroad and explores both the reasons they look to do so and their favored countries for relocation. The USA, UK and Australia are consistently the top countries preferred by this demographic. However the chosen locations do not always match up with where there is most demand for highly qualified talent.
For more information
A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the Hydrogen Group website at: www.hydrogengroup.com