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Jumping Ship: As recession ends, out-of-touch employers run risk of losing talent (access required)

By Austin Light CHARLOTTE — According to a survey of 700 companies and 5,000 workers released last week, a chilly disconnect between employers and employees could lead to a mass exodus of talent as the recession ends if employers aren’t careful. The study was conducted in May and June by on-line job search engine Monster.com and the Human Capital Institute, a think tank and research organization that studies human resources. According to the study, which was designed to examine the effects of the recession, employers are significantly overestimating just how content workers are these days. While 84 percent of employers believe workers are happy to “just have a job” in a down economy, 57 percent of employees feel otherwise. The study also found that 57 percent of workers believe employers are exploiting the recession to drive longer hours and lower pay. Denise Dwight Smith, who directs the career center at UNC Charlotte, said such figures can be expected given the current state of the economy. “It’s a trend, actually. In times of recession there is a disconnect … and then afterwards a mass movement,” she said. “That doesn’t mean employers shouldn’t be concerned.” According to the study, employers are concerned, at least a little. About 36 percent of employers said they were more worried about losing top talent than they were just 18 months ago.

4 comments

  1. Wow. Well written article on employees and employers. If more managers would see themselves as mentors instead of micro-manipulators, more employees would love their jobs.

  2. Isn’t it interesting that you state at the beginning of the article:

    “While 84 percent of employers believe workers are happy to “just have a job” in a down economy, 57 percent of employees feel otherwise.
    The study also found that 57 percent of workers believe employers are exploiting the recession to drive longer hours and lower pay.”

    But then you go on to highlight a company “doing it right” by talking to their HR manager. Isn’t it possible that the HR manager at this company is as out of touch as the management in the study?
    Especially at a company that employs people whose major job duty is to create the Fortune magazine submission each year?

    At law firms, there are 2 types of employees (both surveyed by Fortune/CBJ): attorneys and staff. Attorneys who begin their careers at the firm making 145,000 with 10,000 and upward bonuses are less likely to become disillusioned in a recession than support staffers on salary freeze who are asked countless times during the year to contribute to the United Way, Arts and Science Council, AHA heart walk, and whatever other charity of the month the firm is supporting. And are asked to donate this time and money in lieu of staff appreciation activities. Meanwhile firm paid lunches and open bars for attorneys continue.

    Let me give you an example of something discussed at one of the town hall meetings:

    staff q: you said there are no more layoffs planned. what does that mean?

    managament a: we mean that there are no more layoffs planned today. tomorrow may be different.

    Is that doing it right?

  3. It is possible the HR department is out of touch.

    Hence this quote:

    “We don’t know for sure that people aren’t feeling resentful, or that they are feeling the way the (Monster.com study) indicates some are,” Woods said. “But we’re doing all we can to keep morale up and communication open.”

    They’re doing what they can, is it good enough? That’s something only employees can say, and unfortunately, there’s not a lot of people willing to go on record to talk about how much their employer doesn’t get it.

    Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your feedback.

  4. LocalBlogGirl:
    A few points. First, attorneys at a firm like this got hired because they graduated at the top of their class at a top tier law school. Most arrive at a firm with $100K plus in student loans just from law school (on top of undergraduate loans). Many, if not all, also held jobs while attending school, and several juggled families. If you want to be paid what they do, go do what they did. It’s not a taunt, just a simple fact that there is a reason that salaries are what they are, and that reason is not simply arbitrary. It’s a meritocracy, plain and simple. If you don’t like it, fix it.

    Second, the attorneys are asked to contribute just like the staff members are to the various charity causes.

    Third, the attorneys have not only had their salaries frozen, but cut. Significantly.

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