Ok, this is more brainstorming than well-developed post (don’t touch that – they are all well-developed in my mind).  Anyway, I read through an interesting piece on BusinessWeek.com titled Coping With the Talent Crunch.  The article is from last year, but the author hits on a couple interesting points.

First, this (my editing and emphasis):

It may be that employers (especially large ones) are increasingly out of touch. True, for most of the past two decades employees have consistently said there are reasons more important than money that make a job attractive. The problem is, most of those reasons to stick around have gone the way of the manual typewriter.

Employees used to be willing to trade a few dollars today for the promise of things that were really important to them: Job security, career development, the ability to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Over the past decade (except for the Internet bubble hiring blip) the message from U.S. companies to employees has been clear: Don’t count on us for anything except your next paycheck.

Companies that are no longer able to provide such things should not be surprised when employees take a “show me the money” attitude. And this is going to affect not just the big institutions most responsible for fracturing the social contract between employer and worker€”it will affect all of us. And it will affect us at a time when the competition for talent is going to be at its greatest.

I think the author is spot on with this analysis and especially the highlighted text above.  That fracture will lead to this:

Competition for talent will be not only with other companies but with employees themselves. Of the roughly 22 million U.S. companies in business today, around 16 million are one-person shops, and that number is growing rapidly. Why take a full-time job if you are likely to be out on the street in 18 months because your company has been purchased and integrated into a competitor? If you are one of the best in the field, why not set up shop yourself and control your own destiny?

The sales skills-for-hire days may be upon us.  I have always been skeptical of this approach since selling does require a relationship with the customer.  Many companies are loathe to outsource that relationship.

But what of it?  Maybe there is a place for this approach in light of the talent crunch?  The manufacturer’s rep model has been in place for decades and provides a manufacturing company with local representation.  Sales is uniquely set up for compensation in that you can reward the rep for success – a closed deal.

At a minimum, I can see more salespeople becoming contractors for multiple companies as opposed to an employee for one company only.  If a salesperson has demonstrable skill closing deals, the talent crunch may provide an opportunity to sell their skills to many buyers.

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