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Temps Power Altered Workforce

The tectonic plates of the North American workforce have shifted dramatically in the last several years, and the new landscape tells a story of guardedly optimistic employers who are letting out the seams gradually by focusing on temporary hires in their expanding efforts.

The latest figures out of the American government report that temporary help added 14,100 jobs to that economy last month.

It was a result that was stronger than had been expected, and analysts are increasingly mindful of the role that contract, or project-based, workers have to play in powering large-scale labour market growth. The temp penetration rate — or the percentage of temporary workers in the labour force — is higher today than it’s been in more than five years. Read more

Navigating the Hump

In the United States, some 12,000 baby boomers exit the workforce every day. In Canada, the median age of “active” citizens is a stunning 43.7 years (we averaged out at 38.1 in 1991), and some 41% of the working-age population is between 45 and 64, up from 29% in 1991. The world’s workforce, as boomers hit magic mark after magic mark, is old and getting older. More senior workers are leaving the labour market earlier, more junior workers are entering it later, and the needs and policies that defined the Canadian workforce even a decade ago are suddenly and stunningly no longer applicable.

So much of the unrest is a function of the so-called “baby-boom effect,” a reference to that swell of souls born between 1946 and 1966 whose ranks represent a full third of Canada’s population and account for 41% of the labour force. Read more

Hiring for Culture First

Everybody’s heard a story about an office whose breakroom is stuffed with pool tables, where the sushi lunch every Friday is company supplied, where staffers set their own hours and bring their schnauzers to work. Such is the lore of company culture, the buzziest of buzz terms scorching the current corporate landscape — and managers ignore its siren call at their considerable peril.

According to a recent study by management consultancy Deloitte, today’s employees believe that company culture — or those values and practices to which an organization commits in demonstration of its identified priorities — is almost as important to business success as strategy is.

Adopt it as a critical tenet of your organizational existence and enjoy the fruits in hiring, retention, motivation, loyalty, productivity, creativity and, yes, profitability.

But how, we ask (above the cries to “Hire for cultural fit! Forget professional competencies! Skills can be learned!”) to measure for such a thing in a potential employee? Read more

A Senior Moment

The unflinchingly abysmal economy notwithstanding, almost 60% of working Canadians feel that if they were to lose their job today, they could find another, and with similar duties and pay. But the optimism ends with the 55-and-over crowd. Once you’ve passed that not-so-magical divide, says the Ipsos Reid poll in question, your positivity about your employed future shrinks starkly. Just 49% of this population slice sees their professional prospects brightly.

Around here, we see these results as unnecessarily bleak. So you’re stumbling down the other side of the 50s hump when you find yourself relieved of a job. Casting eyes ahead, you imagine a life of only volunteering and retirement. Days filled with euchre, indolence and regular bouts of crying.

Perish the thought. Read more