Career choices: handle with care!

I am delighted to see so many positive reports about the improvements in the employment market.  There is even talk of pay rises re-emerging.  However, we can’t get carried away.  It’s early days.  We don’t yet know if these signs of recovery will be sustained, as on-going uncertainties and some large scale redundancy shocks continue.

The good news is that our resettlement statistics suggest employment decisions are speeding up.  Our first quarter statistics show that whilst 67% of Chiumento delegates resettled within 6 months in 2013, in 2014 this rose to 78%.This confirms falling recession-led hesitancy in selection decisions.  At last, recruitment is moving back up the agenda.

Resettlement Jan - March 2014

At the same time, there is less reshuffling.  In the last quarter of 2013, a staggering 21% of our delegates were offered internal roles elsewhere in their organisation after receiving ‘at risk’ notice whilst this quarter that figure fell to just 1%.

This suggests our client organisations have stopped putting staff at risk when they can move them elsewhere.  So they don’t even feature in our statistics.  Instead they are moved to fill internal vacancies elsewhere in the organisation.  Whilst I don’t want to be a killjoy, I suggest a word of caution here.  Redeployment can be a great way to retain skilled and experienced staff.  The new challenge is to ensure retained staff really want the available job and stay committed.  If not they risk becoming corporate prisoners.

Survival is a basic human instinct. If thrown a lifeline we tend to grab it. The problem with redeployment in ‘at risk’ situations is often any job is seen as better than no job. Equally kind hearted managers may throw the rope – even though they wouldn’t hire that person in normal circumstances.  When selection standards go out of the window in this way, often everyone lives to regret it. That’s where HR really earn their money. They need to remind managers that redeployment needs to be as objective as any other form of recruitment.

Meanwhile moves into self-employment stayed steady at 20% of the delegates we support.  Comment last week warns self-employment is not lucrative compared with employed roles.  However, pay comparisons are not all that matters.  Self-employment is a lifestyle choice where aspirations and motivational drivers are vital.  Critically, is this lifestyle right for you, pay aside?  Fledgling entrepreneurs will earn less and should expect that.  What really motivates some is that longer term prospects are in their own hands.  There is no doubt that whilst this thrills some, it terrifies others.  Our job is to help delegates recognise which is true for them before taking such an important step.

So let’s stay optimistic, and rejoice in the upward trend in recruitment.  And let’s also value some of the lessons learnt during this recession and ensure that our career choices are made with care, recognising that each one of us is an individual and our needs, aspirations, values and motivations are just as important as our competencies and capabilities.

Sarah Chiumento

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