Training still vital
Despite the recession, training and development remain as important strategies for corporations that want to be competitive.
That's why U.S. businesses spend $210 billion annually in employer-based training -- and intend to keep doing so.
"The new economy has profound implications for the way we use people on the job," writes economist Anthony Patrick Carnevale in his book, "America and the New Economy: How New Competitive Standards are Radically Changing American Workplaces" (Jossey-Bass, $29.95). "Ultimately, a whole new set of skills will be required."
And that means jobs for corporate trainers, the professionals who assess needs and then develop, design and deliver educational programs for employees at all levels, offering courses such as basic literacy, sales and computer operations and how to manage a multicultural work force.
A recent study by the American Society for Training and Development of 222 senior human resource managers in the largest U.S. companies shows 80 percent have not cut back on training and development staffs, even though 54 percent have laid off workers.
And what bodes well for the future of those who train America's work force is that 65 percent of the companies surveyed expect an increase in training funds, once the recession is over.
"Chief executive officers are recognizing they have to invest in the training and development of their employees so their organizations can become more competitive," said Curtis Plott, executive vice president of the training society, which is based in Alexandria, Va.
Contingency work, which includes temporary, part-time, subcontracted and independent contract workers, is growing nationwide.
In a slow economy, employers use contingency workers for flexibility, to fill work demands without incurring the costs of hiring a full-time employee and paying benefits. Though temporary and part-time workers are an established part of the work force, the new growth in contingency employment is reflected in increased numbers of subcontracted employees and in independent contract workers.
For the workers, many of whom would prefer full-time jobs and cannot find them, contract employment is an important option during a recession. It means having a job, income and a chance to be on the spot when a full-time job opens up. It's a chance to get important references.