February FDA NDA/BLA Approvals

2/01 Cosopt PF, Merck Sharp Dohme; 2/03 Giazo, Salix Pharmaceuticals ; 2/07 Mitosol, Mobius Therapeutics;
2/07 Sklice, Sanofi-Topaz; 2/10 Zioptan, Merck Sharp Dohme

What Recruiting Will Look Like After the Recession

by Kevin Wheeler

This is a strange recession.

It is not affecting employment across the board as many of the past ones have, but rather seems to be targeting specific sectors and types of work. Obviously banking and financial services, but also manufacturing and anyone in a semi-skilled job such as auto workers are especially affected. Needs are pocketed and specific. Talent shortages remain.

Yet, I have had calls from search firms looking for key sales and marketing people, and for R&D talent. Senior HR executives are in demand, especially if they have global experience. Sectors still largely unscathed by the recession – healthcare, gaming, entertainment, pharmaceuticals, and biotech – are still facing talent shortages and global competition.

The growth of global supply chains, increasing automation, and greater process efficiency means we can do more with fewer. New jobs are being created daily, but they all require education and skill beyond that of many current candidates.

This, combined with the different attitudes candidates and employees have about work and about how they live their lives, changes how we recruit and employ people.
The highly skilled, experienced, and educated will have an increasing edge in employment. And this recession should be a clarion call for an increased focus on education, training, and employment development. Everyone involved with talent will need to look at both development and acquisition as channels to meet their needs, rather than focus entirely on recruiting.
There are a number of permanent changes we will see.

Candidates Become Smarter, Warier
The first change is that many candidates will be reluctant to work under the same conditions as usual. Candidates have access to unparalleled information about a prospective employer through the Internet and its many sources. Reliance on a single firm for security has already eroded, and this recession will strengthen employees’ wariness about promises and deferred compensation. More top employees will seek employment contracts that include clauses that spell out layoff pay and benefits.

Candidates will probe positions more deeply and they will want more influence over the type of work they do. Prepare for candidates to negotiate what they will and won’t do.

Free Agency
Recessions have, in the past, increased the pool of people who decide to become free agents – contractors, consultants, and part-time workers. More people than ever are trying out life as independent workers. Many will not make it and return to the corporate fold, but they will be wiser and better prepared to abandon ship than they were before.

Many others will find they would rather work on their own than go back under the very insecure and fragile corporate umbrella. Companies will have to identify and take care of their key producers better than ever. While many firms do work hard to keep key talent, they will have to increase this effort and explore more creative ways to engage those people.

Charles Handy, a management writer and educator who has written numerous books on the organizations of the future, predicted that up to half of some company’s talent may eventually work as free agent, contracting to those firms as temporary staff, contractors, or part-timers. This will be a lasting change that is accelerated because of the recession.

Recruiters and HR staff will have to accommodate these free agents. Our internal regulations will have to be modified to make the use of contractors legal and compliant with IRS regulations and it may be necessary to lease employees, employ more employment contracts, and learn to share talent between organizations.

These changes will be fought by the legal department and more HR leaders, yet I believe companies will eventually have to embrace these ideas to be competitive.

Values Rule
Gen Y candidates, in particular, but all employees to a growing degree, are seeking companies that hold values high and make and keep commitments to their employees and their families. They seek environmentally sensitive, charitable, and ethical firms.

Gen Y is the tip of a spear followed by the even more morally and environmentally committed Gen M. They will have even higher expectations than the Baby Boomers ever did. While shareholder value will always be a core concern of the management team, they will also have to understand how important employees feel that values are and how close a scrutiny they will give every corporate action and statement.

Recruiters have to understand the values of the firms they work for and find better ways to match people to those values. They will have to also convince the management of firms that what they DO is just as important as what they say and that this emerging candidate pool focuses on actions almost entirely.

Flexible Work Arrangements
Employees now want to work where they want. The Internet has made it possible for most services and knowledge workers to be located far away from the physical center of their company.

Designers, call-center staff, sales people, some HR folks, and most anyone who works with information, writing, or data can effectively work wherever they wish. Only a handful of people – those whose work requires their hands or eyes on the work being produced – will need to physically be present. Even jobs we cannot yet imagine being remote, such as that of a diagnostic physician, may soon be possible using instruments and video from anywhere.
Recruiters will need to encourage flexible work arrangements and lobby with hiring managers to make these arrangements normal.

Recruiting will be more challenging and those recruiters who like to “fill positions” will find themselves looking for other kinds of work. Recruiters will need to be proactive, great influences, technically savvy, and adaptable to emerging work trends.

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Despite All the Talk, Recruiting Still Follows Seasonal Trends

April saw a continued erosion of pundit confidence in the economy to record lows. According to March’s unemployment data, however, employee confidence may be on the rebound. Though the number of seasonally adjusted employed persons in March fell by 80,000, those in the available workforce grew by 410,000, likely representing an influx of people who felt the job market was too difficult to break into and had fallen back on other options.

“Hiring hasn’t stopped. Almost everyone knows someone who is out there interviewing and even getting hired over the last few months. That personal, though anecdotal, evidence is overriding what people are reading about the economy. It’s causing people to re-enter the job hunt, and they are right to do so,” says Michael Jalbert, president of MRINetwork.

According to internal MRINetwork data, referred to as PTWeb+™, hiring authorities aren’t changing their patterns much. MRINetwork’s nearly 900 U.S. offices work in the professional, management and executive levels of virtually all industries. According to the data from these offices, hiring has been closely following its normal seasonal trend. PTWeb+ showed an edging off towards the holidays then rebounding in January to make up for lost time and the new fiscal year, and finally beginning the slow upward growth into summer.

“Companies are of course looking at economic trends and being more cautious about hiring, but that caution isn’t caus-ing them to vary from their normal seasonal hiring patterns in a large way. Candidates are still out there and hiring author-ities are still seeking them out,” observes Jalbert.

“One of the largest effects on the housing slowdown and credit crunch on management level recruiting might not be in the loss of jobs but the relocation issue,” Jalbert points out. “In the college educated professional workforce where home ownership rates are higher and relocations for work are more common, not being able to sell a home or get a loan for a new one can tie up a job switch for months. For an employer who is understaffed that is just too long.”

While restaurants, retail and other types of services com-panies are reporting record high responses to job postings, the response has declined somewhat in the professional sector.

“It is a bit like both a candidate and an employer market at the same time. Both sides are having a hard time connecting with each other,” says Jalbert. “The biggest lesson of the day for job seekers has to be, ‘just keep looking,’ because the jobs are out there waiting to be found.”