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Widespread labor shortage looms for the 1990s.

WIDESPREAD LABOR SHORTAGE LOOMS FOR THE 1990s

The biggest problem for the U.S. economy in the 1990s will be a shrinking number of new job seekers that will force companies to hire employees they would not have hired in the past. That was the principal conclusion of the Conference Board's Human Resource Outlook Panel, a group of 10 leading labor experts who meet each year to examine the employment outlook.

Not only will the number of job seekers decline, but the new group will consist predominately of women and immigrants. This will compel companies to spend additional time and money on training. Indeed, panel member Madelyn Jennings, senior vice-president of personnel at Gannett Company, says, "All of this will require much more training, with more time and money spent teaching some employees basic skills. Training will probably become one of the big growth industries of the 1990s."

Audrey Freedman, chairwoman of the panel and management counselor at the Conference Board, suggests companies should start looking for ways to bring new people on board rather than screening them out. "The old days of creaming the country's labor pool for the very best candidates for every position are over," she says.

Echoed another panel member, Mitchell Fromstein, president and chief executive officer of Manpower, Inc., "Employers must develop a broader technique that tries to qualify everyone for something. They must abandon the search for the one best candidate for an open position. Instead, they should examine all the qualifications of every candidate carefully, keeping a wide variety of possible open positions in mind."

Indeed, some companies have already made drastic changes in recruiting practices. One healthcare company is recruiting in mainland China for employees to work with nurses recruited in Ireland and the Philippines. A West Coast bank advertises on foreign-language television, radio and in newspapers. It also recruits at shopping malls and sporting events. A spokesman notes, "The big push now is to use new sources to find job applicants."
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Author:Baliga, Wayne J.
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Date:Feb 1, 1990
Words:330
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