Herman Trend Alert: Exploratory Job Seeking

Filed under: Opinion |

Some workers (the top talent) are engaging in more exploratory job seeking. We’re hearing from employers that the rate of flow of resumes and query letters and calls has increased, a sign of restlessness and hopefulness on the part of unhappy workers.

Sensing the improving economy and new job opportunities that will be opening, the “A players” are testing the waters, probing for possibilities. “A players” are defined as proven high performers with skills that are in demand. They are the most desirable prospective employees for any company, the hottest commodity in the employment market, and the people who have the greatest potential to leave their current employers.

Indications from formal and informal surveys suggest that fewer than one-third of employers are really sensitive to their A-player vulnerability.

Executives seem to still be complacent, believing that these valuable people are happy and content to stay put. A high number of these less-than-attentive employers will be surprised when their best workers leave. Even when alerted to their exposure, senior leaders, are still not taking aggressive action to retain their top talent.

Executive search firms, accustomed to the practice of hunting for candidates to meet the needs of their clients, are experiencing something new: The more eligible specialists-people with sought-after skills and experience-are coming to them. These highly marketable workers-in technical and professional roles-are asking the search firms to work for them, at a fee, to help them find new positions.

A significant number of the people who are marketing themselves more aggressively are already in management or senior technical positions, often seeking even higher positions. In many cases, they want similar positions but with another employer.

According to the people we’ve been talking with around the country, this quiet searching for new positions is intensifying,. People tell us that they are putting out feelers, and that many of their co-workers are, too. Qualified people are poised for quick movement, so we’re anticipating a level of turbulence that may surface quickly. Employers are warned to build stronger relationships with their people now: Employee retention will be your competitive strategy.

From “Herman Trend Alert,” by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurists, copyright 2004. (800) 227-3566 or www.hermangroup.com.