Thursday, June 08, 2006

The War For Talent - DC Style

Over the past couple of years, I have run across several individuals (on ERE in particular) who question whether there really truly is a 'War for Talent'. Although you can argue whether there is an overall labor shortage or not, there is no doubt that there are severe talent shortages in a number of occupational categories, and there are combined labor and talent shortages in a number of local areas as well. The DC area happens to be one of those areas that is currently facing massive labor and talent shortages, with no relief in sight.

One the motivators behind starting this blog was to explore the rather unique job market and overall economy of our Nation's Capital. For one, DC has been relatively 'recession-proof' through the decades in a large part due to the fact that the US Government is based here. The Government is a huge employer, and government spending supports a large and vibrant services-focused government contracting industry. Even during the Great Depression, according to my Grandfather, life in DC wasn't so bad, primarily due to the presence of the Federal Government.

The current War for Talent here has actually been escalating since 9/11. Unemployment is as low as it has ever been (2.9% in Greater Washington as of March '06, 2.2% in Fairfax County, VA, where I work, and 1.9% in Loudoun County, VA), so in other words, if you have a pulse, you're hired! ;-) Again, much of this is driven by government spending, defense/ intelligence/ homeland security spending in particular. There are a number of factors that make Recruiting in this market particularly difficult, and I will explore those in future posts.

But in the meantime, here is a 'boots-on-the-ground' view of the current situation according to a recent Washington Business Journal article titled Too Many Jobs, Too Few People.


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