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Defining ‘opportunity:’ what and where is it?

I recently read that an SAP official reported there are 30,000 job openings for SAP consultants globally. If you happen to be an SAP consultant, that's probably good news. For the rest of us who are in workforce management or connected in any way to our company's hiring strategies, bells should be going off.

First, whether you believe we are still in a recession or beginning to come out of it, the fact remains that competition for certain skills remain strong. Those candidates who are in demand are looking for companies that can provide good pay, good benefits and a good environment. It's going to take more than cold hard cash to keep top performers around.

Second, for those lucky enough to have stayed gainfully employed, the strain of the past couple of years and a deteriorating work environment has started to take its toll. I got an e-mail today advertising an upcoming HCI Engagement and Retention Conference with the opening line: "After two years of recession and bad news, many employees are tired, discouraged and waiting for an opportunity to jump ship." Retaining the performers you have today has become even more challenging.

Lastly, I believe that when the dust settles, the world and particularly the technology workforce will be changed forever. If I'm an SAP consultant or someone with a good technology skill set, will I be content working in a cube in the IT department of a large corporation? Or will I look for that young start-up, mid-sized performer or exciting short term project? What are those 30,000 openings and how are they real opportunities for me?

Companies will need to adjust their workforce strategies to evaluate how and when they bring people into the organization. We are no longer talking about a single door that everyone comes through. More than ever, the future will be about engaging employees the way they like to work and understanding the dynamics that go into how best to recruit and retain them.

In the recruiting business, a classic opening line to a recruiting call is: "Hi, I have an opportunity I'd like to talk to you about." For any company looking for top performers in the future, it's going to be more important than ever to define what the actual "opportunity" is for that potential employee.

Oh, and if you happen to be an SAP consultant, you've probably gotten three calls, an instant message, two tweets and 12 e-mails about "opportunities" since you started reading this. Let us know which ones you answered...











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