One of the many changes coming out of the last decade of corporate job shedding, health care insurance shedding, pension/401(k) shedding is the growing idea that workers are on their own. A new survey by Right Management shows that two-thirds of employees say they now regard themselves as managers of their own careers.
“Ten years ago,” said Jane Goldfine of Right Management, “the concept of self-directed career management was relatively new and not well understood. Now it has traction. Today both management and employees understand and embrace this new reality. The dramatic changes in the job market of the past few years won’t be forgotten in our lifetime, nor will the realization that people need to take control of their futures, even as hiring picks up.”
In reality, it was always that way, of course. But people used to feel that their employers provided more than a paycheck; they provided financial security, a community, an identity. In earlier recessions many companies waited to lay workers off until they were forced to. But companies in a globalizing, ever more competitive world have rushed to distance themselves from the paternalism of 50 years ago, shedding benefits, job training, company picnics or anything else the costs money and implies that the company is responsible for employees beyond a paycheck. Companies clearly don’t want a relationship with their employees, except a relative few. The recession and its aftermath have really driven home.