In Soft Job Market, Investment in Training Is Safe Bet
Peter Coffee: For technical staff and their managers alike, this might be the best time in quite some time to be looking at both the opportunities and the requirements for developing new skills in the coming year.When people use the phrase, "last in, first out" (or LIFO), it would be nice if they were talking about warehouse management or inventory accounting. In todays economy, sad to say, the label often refers to people: The staff most recently hired are the first to be let go, putting a damper on the aggressive mobility of technical personnel that marked the mid- to late-1990s. "New kid on the block" takes on a different, more ominous tone when its the chopping blockand heads must roll. There is one bright side, though, to LIFO: Managers might feel that training their technical people has become a better investment when those people are less likely to parlay that expensive training into a better-paying job with another employerbefore the company that paid the bill has gotten anything back. For technical staff and their managers alike, this might be the best time in quite some time to be looking at both the opportunities and the requirements for developing new skills in the coming year.
What skills should be the focus of staff development? If its possible to generalize, the overall enterprise attitude seems to be a conservative "Lets get more from what we already have," replacing the previous "Lets build something new." Developing and integrating existing databases, for example, might look like a more attractive proposition than making a major bottom-up commitment to a packaged CRM system. And people on hand who know the business can better lead an effort to identify and model business processes, and can better respond to the increased demands (especially in federal agencies) for rigorous ROI analysis, compared to the newly hired or to outside contract workers.