While India has started showing signs of recovery over the last couple of months, the U.S. economy has seen over 2.6 million job losses in 2008, according to government reports. However, a recent survey more than 90 percent of economists predict that the recession will end this year, although the recovery is likely to be bumpy. That assessment came from leading forecasters in a survey by the National Association for Business Economics.
About 74 percent of the forecasters expect the recession, which started in December 2007 and is the longest since World War II, to end in the third quarter this year. Another 19 percent predict that a turning point will begin to show in the final three months of this year, and the remaining 7 percent believe the recession will end in the first quarter of 2010. For all of this year, the forecasters say the unemployment rate will be at an average 9.1 percent, a big jump from the 5.8 percent of last year and up from its current quarter-century peak of 8.9 percent. Obviously, it is going to be a sluggish recovery by all means.
As can be expected, the continuing global uncertainty and market turmoil has impacted the overall recruitment market going far beyond the IT, BPO, real estate, and the BFSI sectors. We hear on a daily basis about cost cutting measures being announced by companies. For many firms 'right sizing' is the order of the day, regardless of their size; and the senior managers across companies are holding back or cutting down investment in employees. Facing a layoff is fast becoming a real prospect for many professionals. Today, to keep a job, the employee needs to work smart and do whatever it takes to ensure value to the employer.
Cutting jobs may make balance sheets look better; but it is not always a good long-term decision from a business perspective, as organizations need employees to serve customers efficiently. At times there are demands for increased productivity per employee, which can come about only if there is adequate investment in the employees. But this applies only to the employees that the firm needs to hold on to and not the rest.
From an employer's point of view, hiring happens only if the company has sufficient projects in the pipeline and recruitment should always be in synchronization with projects needs. As far as an employee is concerned, he should consider the track record or performance of the company, the commitment of the company towards its employees, and finally the professional growth and learning prospects.
The companies should be specific about the employees they are hiring. There is a high probability that employers will come across many eligible candidates who are interested in pursuing a career in a specific company, so it is advisable to expand the company’s selection horizons. The presence of soft skills such as interpersonal communication, empathy, and likeability should also be given sufficient priority.
It is quite natural that after a number of jobless months, many job applicants will become desperate to find a job. In these situations the candidates would present themselves as job seekers that are ready to work for less remuneration relative to their experience, education, and skills would normally demand in an economically stable industry scenario. This offer from candidates might be alluring for employers in monetary terms, but doing so usually costs more in the long run than what is saved in the short term in salaries. It is always better to pay your team members what they are worth for on the basis of their positions. Make the correct assessment when it comes to paying remuneration to help the company to retain quality manpower.
Be patient while hiring, as economic downturns are usually short lived than feared. Companies need not be in a hurry to recruit just because lower salaries are accepted. During a slowdown, tap the advantages of the abundant labor availability for building the talent base. It is imperative that the company sticks to a policy of hiring the best possible talent it can afford. As mentioned earlier, even if it is tempting to hire the first person with the requisite qualifications to fill a position that has been open for some time, hiring anything less than the best talent will ultimately result in decline. Always give priority to long-term benefits the company can achieve with the best available talent pool and ignore short-term lapses in productivity, as that phase will get over soon. Ensure that the company is selecting the right person for the right job, regardless of the state of the economy. From a radical point of view, it doesn't make any difference between appointing a person without any passion for the job and not hiring. By appointing employees who lack the zeal for the job the employers increase the possibility of lowering the employee morale, running up turnover costs, and killing engagement and productivity. For these reasons, it is absolutely critical to insist on hiring team members who are a good fit for the position and the organization’s culture by carefully identifying the critical accountabilities of the job as well as the match between the mission, vision, and values of the organization and the fitness of the candidate based on these criteria.
Hiring Despite Slowdown Worries
Though the number of people being issued the 'pink slips' is quite high during the economic downturn, some mid-sized and growing companies have still been retaining or hiring more resources. This can be attributed to a clear foresight and good execution strategies. Companies that are growing even in the downturn have to sustain the commitment towards their stakeholders. This, in turn, will help the companies establish a competitive edge and to produce world class, cost effective products.
If companies have enough talent at their disposal to tackle the industry's as well as the customers' future demands, they can take calculated risks and thereby reap benefits in the long run.