April has arrived with just a bit more positive energy on the job front. I have actually seen some hires made in the past few weeks and a handful of employers have indicated they are close to adding additional staff to their very depleted ranks. At the same time, a fair number of hiring managers have shared stories of all time lows in new orders for their goods and services. Trying to analyze which industries are hot has been puzzling as the results of my unofficial canvassing are not showing a steady trend.
My opinion is that the success of a company is driven by some factors they cannot control such as overall demand for what they produce or distribute, transportation costs to get their goods or even their service people to their customers, competition from foreign markets, and the public's perception of the economy. The areas I believe a company can control are quality of product, level of customer support and service, turnaround time for delivering the order, and ability to offer their product at a competitive price. Where some companies appear to be struggling is a reluctance to modify their product or service to the current expectations of their customers. Most consumers are looking for a bigger bang for their dollar and feel entitled to additional bells and whistles at little or no increase in cost to purchase.
This is where the job market could be impacted. Companies that stand by their original concepts and are unwilling to be flexible look to be the ones struggling the most right now. There are many talented individuals on the job market. I suggest that this is a great time to look for talent with innovative ideas, offer them a job, perhaps on a contract to permanent basis initially, and see if they can identify some tweaks to your process which could bring in additional revenue. The old adage that sometimes you have to spend a little money to make money definitely applies here.
Stimulus packages can appear in subtle ways and I think this is one of them. Imagine this, if every employer added 1-2 percent to their workforce to try to bring in creative minds, the national unemployment rate could possibly drop under 8 percent. All those people who were re-employed would have money in their pockets to pay off debt and perhaps do a little shopping which would help fill the empty storefronts and put even more people back to work. Feel free to let me know if you think I am dreaming but I truly think this could go somewhere!