Unemployment levels will play a big part in the 2012 Presidential election. As of this writing it stands at 8.5 percent and in a story by Ron Scherer in the Christian Science Monitor, approximately 260,000 jobs per month would have to be added to get that 8.5 percentage down to 8 percent.
One economist interviewed by Scherer (Mark Zandi) pointed out a “Labor Department surveys show 2 million more people than in 2007 indicate that they want to work. You would think they would start stepping back into the labor force.” The problem is some aren’t even attempting to get back into the work force even though they have voiced a desire to work.
The reason? Class of jobs, low wages and a large percentage of females are leaving the workforce in favor of higher education Scherer points out.
This is where the small business owner can benefit. If you need an employee or two—even more, the candidates available are massive as long as you don’t dismiss what’s available. By that I mean the overqualified or the 45-60 age group because these people have a lot more to offer than newbies—even if the newbies come at a more desirable salary range.
Let’s think about this for a minute. If you need a customer service manager and your top two choices are a newbie with a fresh education but no real work experience or an experienced customer relationship manager with years of experience, which one is your best choice? Sure you’ll get the newbie for a lower salary and benefits package but along with that newbie comes the two words business owners hate: inexperience and training; both cost money.
Your best bet is to look for the experienced and trained even if that means spending a little more. What is the backbone of your business? Your customers! If you gain the experienced, you’ll not only keep loyal employees but gain new ones and both groups will notice your selection choice. It’s all about how well the consumer is treated these days and if you don’t know that by now, go ahead, hire the newbie and see how far you get.
I’m not saying the newly educated ready to face the workforce are not valuable choices. What I am saying is they may not be the best choice for top management positions—let them work their way up learning from mentors who are experts in their fields.
If you have $50,000 to spend on that customer service manager your choices are vast, especially when it comes to the over 40 and overqualified who are desperately looking for jobs. The young? Well they can always move back in with Mom, Dad or Grandma. So spend the $50K on the experienced and start a summer internship program. You can make these internships paid or unpaid and seek out college career centers for the best applicants. Interns often turn into life-long employees willing to work their way up the ladder the old fashioned way.
The atmosphere of your company also makes a big difference. If your company’s style is young, fresh and well, different, you may want the inexperienced or those of the Y Generation. On the other hand, the experienced can also blend with the young and teach them things they didn’t learn in college.
When making a decision on the best candidate, business owners have the upper hand. Part of that statement is sad because the unemployment rate is so high and weeding through resumes and interviews is tough. On the other hand, if you do take the time, you’ll get what you want and at the right wage.
I’m not saying it’s fair to sell an experience manager short by offering a $50K job when they’re used to make over $100K, but in these tough times you need to be smart about which employee group will offer your company the stronger asset. It’s something to think about before you select your next employee, especially those of in the management level.