This is one of the most trying times for the profession of recruiting. There is the obvious reason – income is tight so hiring is tight. But there is also the cultural ramifications of the current situation. For instance, a writer that reflects the Generation Y opinion, Nadira A. Hira, is stating in a piece called Yers won’t settle that Gen Yers are observing the shortcomings of the baby boomer and Gen X careers and reflecting on what they want in life. Her opinion sounds a little self righteous and speculative, but she has a point. Why would a well skilled 23 year old join the ranks of corporate life? Here is a good excerpt:
As a high-profile Los Angeles businesswoman told me last week, what
said schadenfreuders don’t realize is that the outcome of the financial
crisis may not be a defeated Gen Y, but a more determined one —
determined, that is, to follow fulfilling work. “There won’t be any
trust in companies,” she said. And the fact of the matter is, without
that trust, corporate America becomes even less attractive to standout
young employees than it was before the recession hit. The security that
a Lehman Brothers or Merrill Lynch business card used to mean — never
mind the cachet that they carried — began to evaporate as even those
peers who chose the “stable” path of, say, financial services found
themselves jobless. And as the list of the white-collar unemployed grows longer every day, it’s beginning to look like they’re gone for good.
There are many careers where the work itself gets you out of bed in the morning. It could be running a local charity, working for a Non Government Organization in a foreign nation, or doing some low stress work like sowing. Often the pay is adequate because the goal isn’t to get rich. Its an experience.
But another avenue is entrepreneurship. Suppose you were 23, you live with your parents, you have a used car, a high speed internet connection, a network of sharp friends, and time. Would you sign up for a corporate life where:
- a boss doesn’t understand your lifestyle
- your pay increase is 5% (and it is communicated to you like you blew the doors off the allowance for that year because everyone else was getting 3%)
- the speed at which you achieve anything is about a quarter you would expect because you have to get sign offs, agreement from teammates, and teach those that haven’t been paying attention
- And there is nothing to believe in because your commitment to a project lasts only as long as your funding
Or would you maybe start a graphic design company just for kicks? Or create a website where small businesses can share components of how they do things that are innovative? There are all kinds of low risk entrepreneurial experiences.
Back to my initial statement. Recruiters have something a couple of weeks ago I called a Hiring Brand. How are they known from a human capital perspective. GE has a great hiring brand. So does McKinsey. The Investment Banks used to be on this list, but now they aren’t. Some companies will use this as a means to join the GEs and McKinseys as great places to work, but many businesses will take the short sighted approach and undermine their pool of talent for years. Its high stakes.