A Flashlight at the End of the Tunnel

By Eileen Feretic  |  Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2009 18:07 PM

By Eileen Feretic

Let's start with the "tunnel": The United States has lost 6.5 million jobs since December 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's a mind-numbing statistic.

But is there a light at the end of this dismal tunnel? Well, maybe a flashlight.

CareerBuilder, dubbed a "global leader in human capital solutions, says IT employers are starting to prepare for when the economy improves. According to an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder, "Seventy-six percent of IT employers who have employment brands say they are taking measures to strengthen those employment brands today, so they are competitively positioned for an upturn down the road."

What are these employers doing to enhance their brand so that both existing and potential employees--as well as customers and other stakeholders--view them as a great place to work? Here are some strategies the CareerBuilder survey turned up:

•28 percent are revising job listings to emphasize a positive work culture •25 percent are offering more flexible work schedules •22 percent are outlining potential career paths

•19 percent are revamping their company career sites •16 percent are offering more employee recognition programs •13 percent are revising recruitment materials •13 percent are ramping up training programs and •9 percent are implementing a new succession plan.

This all sounds great, especially for the overburdened employees who have taken on extra work as co-workers were let go--often soldiering on while their salaries were frozen or reduced.

However, I wonder what the people who were laid off think about the improvements to their former companies. Probably not much.

But let's focus on what light there is in this tunnel we all inhabit. Existing employees will hopefully work in a more positive and rewarding environment, and, once the economy picks up, laid-off workers will have the chance to apply for jobs in these employee-friendly companies.

Is it too little, too late? What do you think?