Everyone hates to see unemployment rising. But if there is one silver lining it is this: entrepreneurs have a greater field from which to source new staff.
In that respect, this year has been a good one. Many entrepreneurs have taken the opportunity to rebuild their teams to take advantage of the coming recovery. Smart entrepreneurs tell me that they have been able to attract great staff to their teams, either from stealing them from poor performing competitors or from companies that have let good people go.
And they have been busy moving on their 60 percenters: staff they were forced to keep during full employment but who were disengaged and never really up to the job. One entrepreneur told me on the weekend: “It is a completely new feeling to know that if a staff member resigns I have a good chance of replacing them with someone better.”
The latest figures show that job advertisements fell again in May, pointing to further tough times for job seekers in the months ahead.
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The ANZ says that positions advertised online and in newspapers fell 0.2 per cent, seasonally adjusted to a weekly average of 136,457 in May, following a 7.5% drop in April.
It marks the thirteenth month of falls in the gauge, as future demand for staffing remains low.
While there is no evidence of recovery, job advertising appears to have stabilised in recent months,” says ANZ head of Australian economics, Warren Hogan.
“An ongoing stabilisation of job ads followed by evidence of recovery will likely be one of the first signs that the worst is over in the broader Australian economy,” Hogan says.
“At this stage there a no signs of a recovery in job advertising and, as such, we remain cautious about the outlook for the labour market and economic growth over the second half of 2009.”
This Thursday, official unemployment figures for May will be released and economists are expecting unemployment to rise to 5.7% from the 5.4% in April, rising to 8% by the end of the year.
But other forecasters such as Phil Ruthven believe unemployment may only go as high as 7.5% before starting to fall again.
Whichever forecaster you believe, one thing is certain. By this time next year the employment market will be tightening again. Once again entrepreneurs will have to grapple with that uncomfortable feeling of trying to find the right staff for key positions. They will also have to work very hard at building a culture that keeps their staff as growing global competition attracts high performers.
So a key part of all employer’s plans should be spending the next six months finalising the dream team and securing the staff that will take the business into the recovery.