2017 – The changing labor market

A tremendous amount happened in 2017 in the areas of employability, career and job mobility. Sustainable employability, vitality, directing your career are increasingly common themes within organizations. Generous severance payments, tenure for life and lengthy legal proceedings are (thankfully) slowly but surely disappearing from the picture. Yet we still see plenty of examples of organizations where there are “excessive” agreements in a social plan. In which a so-called return guarantee is the rule rather than the exception.

Employability: the benefits of a well-qualified workforce
Every entrepreneur must be able to respond decisively to current and future developments. This is only possible with well-motivated employees who keep their professional knowledge up to date and are employable in multiple places. Employees who also have the space to grow internally and to reach their full potential. If this applies to your company, employability is well taken care of. From a strategic point of view, it is very important to have and maintain insight into the development potential of your employees. For an example of a totally undesirable (say disastrous) scenario, we don’t have to look far: the Internal Revenue Service. At the Internal Revenue Service, employees were offered such a good settlement upon voluntary departure that too many well-qualified people walked out the back door. A civil servant who was two months away from retirement was still able to collect a severance pay of €75,000 gross (read the related article here). In any case, it indicates the relevance of looking strategically at the employee base before you move employees as an organization. Generally, the “best” employees move first because of their potential in the job market. This need not be a problem, as long as the incumbent population is current enough to continue to perform the tasks. Grip on the employability of the current population has thus become a prerequisite within strategic workforce planning. Data is definitively here to stay.

Trends and Developments in 2017/2018 Below are 5 trends and developments that are already underway and expected to become increasingly important in 2017. (Source: Academy of Labor Market Communications)

One Decrease in Social Plans. Social plans promote inactivity and limit the likelihood of advancement and exit. This is massively recognized by career counselors, coaches and employment experts. Meanwhile, the realization slowly dawns that a social plan is not a right, but something befitting good employment practices. The question is whether it is really good employment practice when social plans have little effect. In contrast, the transition allowance is indeed a right as opposed to a social plan.

Two Blended learning. Blended learning is a successful mix of different learning or training methods that blend together. For example, regular 1-on-1 transfer combined with a digital learning environment. This makes for a diverse way of acquiring and sharing knowledge that fits well with personal learning preferences. It is precisely the blended approach of communication, HR, career tools and constant attention that create awareness and movement. It should creep into the genes of an organization that it is good (and safe) to be concerned with your current and future employability and the associated opportunities, training and alternatives. It is this blended approach of offline and online tools, constant incentives combined with structural employability communication that become more critical to success than rigging a career portal. Getting an organization moving is serious work.

Three Retaining talent. With labor market scarcity and employee labor market activity increasing, talent retention is again essential. Getting employees moving often means that the best get moving first. So, as an employer, you need to think about how to keep these individuals attached to your organization. Personal development paths, talent management and simply attention and appreciation are key ingredients to (re)engaging talent.

Four Continue to focus on your value in the job market. In recent years, employers were losing a lot of money on employees who had not developed themselves for years and who did not want or dare to make the step outside. A major reason employees stayed put is because they have no idea what the job market looks like. Whereas mobility was previously mainly internally focused and resolved (often more than half of redundant employees are redeployed internally), employers and sectors are now becoming more open about the labor market opportunities of individuals both inside and outside their organizations.

Five Automating job search processes. Although we continue to prefer face-to-face contact in our pathways (not only by the career counselors, but by all parties involved in job mobility), job-hunting/job-searching may be a dying profession. Tools like Jobport, Jobdigger, JobXS and Jobfeed are faster in this and perhaps even better in the long run? When these tools are paired with career tools, when the candidate’s profile is completed, current inquiring employers, intermediaries and open jobs are visible and matched. A warm transfer will then be out of the question…. Jobhunters can be distinctive now and in the future by making even better use of their network and to “pick up” jobs before they come online.

Stagnation is decline New technologies, forms of collaboration and business models: the newspapers are full of them. The pace of change is now so rapid that our organizations and forms of work, which are still focused on finding long-term working solutions, are increasingly bogged down. Am I going too far in naming that technological advances also create new opportunities? That the disappearance of indefinite employment contracts actually brings more movement to the labor market? And perhaps even that employees should think (even) more and more proactively about their value in the job market…. Standing still is going backwards, so at least keep moving.

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