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Are you still engaging in recessionary thinking in a post-recessionary economy? After this period of growth stagnation, it’s time to take a fresh look at some old beliefs to make sure you are making decisions based on facts of today. It may be time to rethink these 3 beliefs and adjust to today’s job market.

“With such high unemployment, it’s easy to find employees”.

I recently spoke to a business owner who said that they would have little difficulty finding a Controller for their company, given the “high unemployment rate”. It’s time for them to recalibrate post-recessionary thinking. With a 3.8% rate of unemployment in financial services, this business owner will need to put a good deal of focused energy into finding a new Controller. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment in January, 2014 in certain sectors is under 4%. Education and health services (also known as Ed Med) is at 4.1%, and manufacturing is at 5.6%. Unemployment numbers in the tech sector hovers at about 2%.Skilled talent is not abundant and a simple job posting on Craigslist will not easily uncover the top talent they seek.

“People are just lucky to have a job.”

Sending your staff the message that “they are just lucky to have a job” will create a flurry of staff activity to freshen up their resume and start looking. The “quit rate” and the rate of job- leavers has been on the rise since recovery started in 2009. (Business Insider, 2013). And, according to Fed Chairwoman, Janet Yellen, "…a pickup in the quit rate would signal that workers perceive that their chances to be rehired are good--in other words, that labor demand has strengthened." With Portland’s overall unemployment rate at a low 6.5% (Jan., 2014) the demand for talent is on. It might be time to consider that you are lucky to have them! How can you retain the talent you already invested have by selecting, training and developing them? What initiatives can you implement to keep the “quit rate” low in your company? Remember, it’s often the most confident, ambitious and productive employees who quit first. Further, how can you attract talent, in addition to keeping the talent you have?

“We’re like a family – no one is looking for a new job.”

According to the Conference Board, worker satisfaction is at its lowest level since they began measuring it in 1987. Four out of every five workers are planning to, or contemplating, leaving their current employer, according to a recent survey by Right Management. If you assume none of your staff is looking outside your company, or that your competition isn’t eyeing your employees, think again. As the job market improves, all of the pent up turnover that’s been festering in companies since 2008 will be released. In October, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the number of employees voluntarily quitting their jobs had eclipsed the number terminated through layoffs and other types of discharges. A recent survey found that 16 % of small employers are planning to add jobs in the next year, up from 9 % in July. Capital spending and inventory investment plans edged up last month, too. The number of small business owners planning to hire has jumped to its highest level since before the recession, according to a survey released in September by the National Federation of Independent Business. Closer to home, Washington County has seen 11% job growth in the last 4 years, and Multnomah County has seen 9% job growth (Oregon State Employment Department) so opportunities are growing daily.If you find yourself holding these recession-based attitudes, it’s time to reexamine them.

The recession is over and your competition knows it. Attracting and retaining talent is the mandate of today’s competitive job market.

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