Holiday Employment Tears

Holiday season is here and this year the unemployment rate continues to remain in a reasonable range. Some would even claim our current rate represents full employment.

We at Berman Larson Kane ( continue to see a demand for talent, however we still are witness to many professionals experiencing underemployment especially in the information technology skill set.

When I have discussions with the underemployed they really are not in a holiday spirit of thanks. Many have a bitter streak that they have been short change by their past employer. My heart bleeds for this underemployed group because most are really hard working, honest, reliable and conscientious people. So is there a common theme to becoming underemployed? Is it possible for one to make underemployment, preventable?

As I try to look at this from a logical non-emotional perspective the answer is that the underemployed person’s wage level becomes unique to the employer. And when this person attempts because of layoff to transfer their skills, the true wage value is too closely tied to their current employer. Sometime changes in the market place like off shoring or out-sourcing will change the dollar value of the skill set. But for the most part a person with a long history with one employer is rewarded with higher pay during their tenure and these higher wages are not always portable.

If I look closely at these natural economic forces this employment selective process is a free market force that ultimately helps make our economy stronger. But for those that must retool, re learn and start anew it is a very challenging often hearth wrenching experience.

With 2007 on the horizon and NJ employers looking to selectively add to staff. I am afraid that wage wrenching will continue in many disciplines with a select few areas experiencing a war for talent. The $64,000 dollar question is “how do I position my skill set to be involved in this competitive war.