Employers of Choice Start by Understanding the New Career Realities

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So much has changed in the worldwide business climate and in the way

businesses now operate, that the impact of these changes on the careers of

individuals working in organizations needs to be acknowledged.

Waves of downsizings have changed the loyalty contract and heightened

the levels of stress and job security. The continuing focus on shortterm,

bottom-line results, particularly among public companies, has created

tremendous pressure on managers to reduce costs and push workers to

produce more with less. Resulting productivity gains have come at the

price of reducing job satisfaction, eliminating rungs on career ladders, and

forestalling job creation.

The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon

caused many workers to reevaluate the centrality of work in their lives and

seek more time with family, leisure pursuits, or more personally fulfilling

career options.

Fewer younger workers now seek traditional full-time jobs or longterm

employment with any one company. Generations X and Y prefer

short-term goals of job challenge, vacation time, and new skills acquisition

over traditional rewards such as job security and long-term benefits.

More and more employees are choosing to work from home. Proven

and valued older workers are now poised to retire in unprecedented numbers,

inaugurating a new era of talent shortages, and leaving millions of

companies with ‘‘leadership gaps’’ they are not prepared to fill.

While there will continue to be a shortage of skilled people to perform

available jobs, the public education system will not be able to prepare

workers with the skills needed to do tomorrow’s jobs.

The cumulative effect of all these changes has been the creation of a

new contract4 between employer and employee, which many managers

(who came of age when the old contract was in place) have been slow to

recognize: