The Ubiquity of Skills Demand

New principles of human capital have emerged from the combination of technology and the new economy. To lead in any economic environment, both HR executives and corporate executive management should appreciate the ramifications of these new developments. In a previous article we looked at how a skilled workforce is a cash multiplier. In this article we discuss another new principle of human capital: the ubiquity of skills demand. Supply and Demand The best way to understand this principle and its implications is to describe the dynamic between supply and demand in the workforce arena. If we look at the demand side, we see organizations in demand of skills or talents to perform the tasks to deliver value to the marketplace. The economic theory of supply and demand in economics has been widely publicized. It can be summarized briefly: in any market there is equilibrium between demand and supply that will set a specific price point. However, every economist knows the limitation of this theory. For instance, if I am a corporation looking for a specific skill to perform a task, I demand it using traditional recruiting methods such as advertising and a referral system. The limited reach of the demand broadcast creates its own limitation: i.e. limited supply. The reason for limited access to supply is called friction, or a lack of perfect communication between the suppliers and the buyers, in this case between the employers and the jobseekers. Digital Communication Digital communication has been a great tool to reduce friction and enable better equilibrium. Today?s online marketing techniques enable jobseekers and corporations to bridge the gap between supply and demand, and reduce friction. Let?s consider some data and online tactics. As reported in the 2001 iLogos Research Global 500 Web Site Recruiting Survey, jobseekers could access job opportunities at 88% of Global 500 companies online at anytime, from anywhere?? an increase from 29% in 1998. This contrasts well with the traditional unique source of employment opportunities available quasi-exclusively through newspapers, as it was only a few years ago. This first shift in availability or ubiquity of data is called by iLogos ubiquity of demand, i.e. every job opportunity is available anywhere at anytime. Other techniques are available for corporations to timely market their opportunities to candidates. One is “job agents,” an extension of the permission marketing concept. The candidate can leave a personal email address at the corporate careers website to receive automated notification of future matching positions. Job agents build ongoing relationships with jobseekers, stretch marketing budgets further and require no resource allotment from recruiting staff. In 2000, only six percent of Fortune 500 companies benefited from this powerful functionality, perhaps because their hiring management systems did not provide the necessary profiling and automation. In 2001, the adoption of job agent functionality climbed to 13%, or 120% growth year to year. Consequences The consequences of this new principle of ubiquity of skills demand are several. The first is to give the jobseeker the ability to shop more for opportunity and be more in a decision-making role: “I know what is available out there and what I am worth.” Today, many salary surveys are available online and give the jobseeker even more control over his or her own career. The second consequence of this principle is an increased flow of supply for the corporation. This simply translates to an increased volume of applications and consequently raises the issue of quality. The ubiquity of skills demand provides the jobseeker with a wider wealth of opportunities to choose from. Concurrently, it affords the corporation a larger pool of candidates from which to select. This development presents both an opportunity and a challenge for corporations to contemplate as they evaluate their recruiting processes.

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Yves Lermusi (aka Lermusiaux) is CEO & co-founder of Checkster. Mr. Lermusi is a well known public speaker and a Career and Talent industry commentator. He is often quoted in the leading business media worldwide, including Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Business Week, and Time Magazine. His articles and commentary are published regularly in online publications and business magazines. Mr. Lermusi was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the Recruiting Industry” and his blog has been recognized as the best third party blog.



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