The Answer is Flexibility

Steve Pruneau

An article in yesterday’s New York Times describes in great detail how training has not paid off as some thought it would.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/19/business/19training.html?_r=1After Training, Still Scrambling for Employment: Directly from the article:  [start] “It’s such an ugly situation that job training can’t solve it,” said Ross Eisenbrey, a job training expert at the Economic Policy Institute, a labor-oriented research institution in Washington, and a former commissioner of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. “When you have five people unemployed for every vacancy, you can train all the people you want and unfortunately only one-fifth of the people will get hired. Training doesn’t create jobs.” [end]

Part of the reason for that imbalance in demand for talent is flexiblity.  Employers are not prepared to load-up on fixed costs (which is what a permanent full-time employee is) given the uncertainty of our current economy.  Companies need flexibility.  You can offer that flexibility to them by offering to work on contract job, instead of as a permanent full-time employee.  That takes a lot of risk out of the hiring decision and should get you into a conversation about what you can do to help your client (which in the old days we called “employer”)… help your client either reduce expenses or increase revenue.

You may be thinking, ‘Steve, what do I do after the contract is done?’  I say and will always say, move-on to the next project.  Most of our economy is no longer on a 10 or 20 year planning horizon, at least in terms of talent input.  So we can no longer comfortably coast through our work lives without much change.  Our economy shifts talent and focus to respond quickly to all sorts of changes, to all sorts of demands.  And that my friends is why flexibility matters and why Free Agents will continue surfing wave after wave of projects and contract work.

I like it. [original article]

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Steve Pruneau leads executives and business owners to solve the gap between variable revenue and a fixed workforce. He is the first consultant at Free Agent Source. As a founder, Steve engages the broader community of corporate clients, entrepreneurs, startups and consultants. He manages company operations and lives in Los Angeles, CA.

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