The Career News newsletter has a short article about “job churn” that provides some good news for our present economic situation.
The immediate reaction of companies, in a slumping U.S. economy, is to pull back on hiring activity, declare hiring freezes and even make layoff announcements. But these are only short-lived strategies as employers soon realize that they are deficient on talent in a competitive job market. After a period of reactionary cutting and freezing, hiring activity will return to a level of normalcy.
Hiring is largely a function of ‘job churn’ and there is no evidence that churn will do anything but accelerate in the coming quarters. Churn is the result of continuous movement among workers. In other words: workers quit, retire, get fired, find new jobs, return to school, move to new locations, etc. – even during a recession. In fact, today’s professionals change jobs every three years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Churn can often accelerate during economic hardships. Like star athletes who don’t want to play for losing teams, top professionals seek out opportunities to play for more successful organizations. The downturn of 2001 is an important guide for what recruiters and job seekers can expect of the job market in the months ahead. There was a dramatic reduction in the number of online job listings in September 2001, on the heels of the tragic events of 9/11. But by the end of the year, job postings were at a record high.
I remember recruiting salespeople at the end of 2001 and there was much competition in the marketplace. Believe it or not, I was actually recruiting for an IT position. 3-year job churn is a new trend that is probably here to stay with the younger generations.
Anyway, the media has a macabre fascination with negative news. “If it bleeds it leads.” Right or wrong, this is their approach that they believe sells. Perhaps it does (though the latest round of decreasing newspaper circulation numbers is itself macabre). As bad as the economy is right now, the cries of another great depression strike me as hyperbole of the highest order.