Labor Equilibrium NOT So Balanced for 2010

Synopsis: Nothing new is in the employment mix as many U.S. major organizations plan to hire while just as many intend to practice workforce reductions.  What else is new?

Danny Huffman

Don’t you love surveys telling you how wonderful the world is going to be if only we can hold back a few more months?  Just as exciting and revolting is how statisticians and politicians (yes, even our President) manipulates numbers knowing all too well the truth behind reality.  Holding onto Hope’s final thread, it seems our hunger to believe is much greater than what is being served. With tomorrow’s menu searching for takers and for those not always in the loop of the latest, let’s take a look at what a new survey by Towers Watson ( is predicting.

Good News / Not-so Good News (Notice how they always comes in two’s):

Good News: 92% of those responding plan to hire in 2010
Not-so Good News: 36% of those responding are planning targeted workforce reductions

Continuing with the main course:

* 41% felt it’s easier to retain talent now than it was before the financial crisis
* 51% think retention will be more difficult a year from now (on a side note, those responding noted a rise in productivity over the past year)

The survey confirmed the toll the past year has taken on employees in terms of pay and benefit cuts, and how employees have responded:

* 52% said the percentage of their employees working past their desired retirement age is higher than it was before the financial crisis
* 31% expect employees working past their desired retirement age will be even higher a year from now
* 32% said their employees’ cost of health-care coverage is higher now than it was before the financial crisis
* 38% think healthcare costs will be even higher a year from now

Other Points of Interest:* 30% of companies report employees have on average reduced their contributions to 401(k) plans from pre-financial crisis levels, and 51% have seen an increase in employees’ hardship withdrawals from pre-financial crisis levels.
* 48% said employees had shifted 401(k) plan allocations out of equities; however, 37% expect employees to shift back toward equities a year from now
* Respondents expect to fund their short-term incentive plans at 100% this year, compared with 80% in 2008 and 60% last year

The survey is based on responses from 118 mostly large employers in the United States and 459 employers globally, and was conducted in early January 2010.

What do you think of the latest survey?  Will 2010 be the turning point or, as many surveys predict (mostly from economists), will our employment scene not feel any significant improvement for another two to three years?  Or would you prefer to tell me what’s really on your mind and tell all those statisticians, politicians, and predictors to take their numbers where the sun don’t shine?  After all, what really matters is job creation and placing real food on our table.

What else is new? Absolutely nothing.

Let me know your thoughts and perhaps we will post our own survey…

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC, author, educator, and co-owner of Career Services International/Education Career Services.  He may be reached at or visit his Career Blog at


  1. True about surveys and how anyone can turn the “facts” into something other than facts. I like what you have to say and read most of your work. Keep it coming and if you have more tips about networking, please share.


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