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A Year in Preview: Working in 2008

Every year provides new opportunitiesas well as challenges for the cable and telecommunications industry. So what can employers, employees and job seekers expect in 2008?

The Cable Telecommunication Human Resources Association has analyzed data gathered during a trio of 2007 research initiatives to provide projections for the year ahead. One thing is certain: Change is in the air.

Hot Jobs: The high demand and low supply of technical talent, especially IT database programmers and online content developers, will have far-reaching implications. Companies will increase their use of contract and free-agent workers. Also, as industry employers go toe-to-toe for candidates against the likes of Microsoft and Google, innovative recruiting practices will proliferate. You will see creative employee perks and work environments that appeal to millennials, the new wave of workforce entrants in their late teens or early twenties.

I Don't Recall Applying for a Job: As low unemployment fuels a war for talent across all disciplines, innovative employers will seek out passive job seekers: qualified candidates who aren't actively searching for a job. How? By scouring blogs and online social-networking sites to identify individuals with the desired skills and backgrounds. Also, employers will make employee referral programs more lucrative.

No Position, No Problem: The phrase “I regret to inform you that we do not have a position available at this time” will be replaced with “Congratulations, we don't have a position open and your start date is Feb. 1,” as companies move from vacancy-driven recruiting to pro-active talent management to ensure they are prepared when hard-to-fill positions are vacated.

The Future Starts Now: Two factors will fuel a greater emphasis on succession planning and talent development. First, companies will want to avoid massive talent deficits as baby boomers retire. Second, research has determined that when deciding whether or not to join or leave a company, employees, especially millennials, place greater importance on personal and professional development than salary. Leadership development, mentoring and internal job rotation programs are expected to gain in popularity as employers strive to create an internal pipeline of well-rounded talent.

Homeward Bound: Several factors will lead to an increase in home-based positions:

  • Employers need to offer telecommuting in order to be competitive;
  • Relocation is becoming a deal-breaker for many executives who do not want to uproot their families for their careers;
  • Ongoing advances in technology allow companies to efficiently and affordably integrate home offices with their traditional offices.

Going, Going, Gone: Becoming obsolete (or close to it) in 2008:

  • The ideal of the life-long employee;
  • Paper-intensive HR practices, as we continue the move to online capabilities for quality and speed of execution;
  • The use of newspaper classified ads as a recruiting tool.

The Bottom Line: The need to acquire and retain talent is a top priority in 2008. This critical goal affects a company's ability to compete, develop its business, and ensure all efforts and capabilities serve customer needs.