"Every beginning is a consequence — every beginning ends something."
   — Paul Valéry

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“I Read the News Today, Oh Boy!”

(APRIL 4, 2007) “I read the news today, Oh boy!” …and it was refreshingly promising for MPNers and job seekers in general. A recent survey by Manpower reported that “four out of 10 employers are finding it difficult to fill job vacancies this year.” The survey was reported in management-issues.com, which often has good articles on changing forces within the workplace. In another survey, this one by Monster and Development Dimensions International (DDI), nearly 75 percent of staffing directors believe competition for talent has gotten worse since 2005 (better for us!!) and over 50 percent said that they’re finding fewer qualified professional candidates than they did two years ago. Both studies are consistent with what we are finding at MPN: more offers, more quickly, for marketing people of all kinds.

Of course, there must be a good match of talents to the company’s needs, and the candidates must be clear on their goals and positioning within the marketplace. But once that happens, as one vp at DDI noted, “Candidates are in a very powerful position.” Illustrative of their power is the fact that, as a third study in management-issues.com noted, 85 percent of headhunters have had candidates turn down job offers—and good ones—because of work-life considerations. It’s not like the old days, that’s for sure, and in this case you can consider 2002 the old days. In response to this trend, the survey reported that there were clear signs that companies are more and more willing to work with candidates to structure an acceptable work-life balance.

Conclusions? The pendulum is still swinging in the candidates’ direction, so be bold if you want to be. And, don’t be so worried about hiding work-life balance issues either: young children, demanding teenagers, aging parents, long commutes, or whatever it may be. Telecommuting, flexible work schedules and limited travel are all common demands that companies are listening to now. They may not get you into the corner office if you take advantage of them, but they will certainly make your life more pleasant in the living.

I recently saw the old movie The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, in which the choice between the corner office and work-life balance was dramatically and starkly presented to Gregory Peck. This was back in 1956, but the story is still relevant today. I’ll leave it to you to guess which he chose…and what you will choose as you go forward. The good news is that there’s no need to “blow your mind out in the car” (to quote the Beatles, again), because there’s plenty of good news out there for job seekers!

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