WisBusiness: Pessimism reigns in latest Manpower survey

By Tracy Will

For WisBusiness.com

MADISON — The worst national employer survey since 1982 saw similar results in Wisconsin, a Manpower executive said today.

“In the Madison area, 12 percent of the firms plan to increase staff, 12 percent plan to decrease, and the rest plan to remain the same,” Manpower U.S. Marketing Vice President Mark Metzendorf said. “They zero each other out.”

It was even worse in greater Milwaukee. “In the Milwaukee area 12 percent plan of firms polled planned increases, 16 percent decreases, and the rest plan to remain the same, for a negative 4 percent demand for jobs,” he told the monthly meeting of the Madison International Trade Association.

Nationally, only 15 percent of employers plan to increase total workforce, 14 percent plan to decrease, and the rest plan to remain about the same.

Added Metzendorf: “This is the worst result we’ve seen in this poll since 1982, and shows a great deal of pessimism.”

In economic sectors that affect Wisconsin, positive notes for employment sectors included leisure and hospitality, where 14 percent of employers reported plans to hire new employees, up from 7 percent in the previous quarter. Construction firms still reported weak demand for workers at negative 4 percent, though the figure showed improvement over negative 14 percent in the previous quarter. Manufacturing non-durable goods reported negative 4 percent demand down from negative 2 percent.

Metzendorf said the “world of work has changed as we make our way through the economic mess we find ourselves in now.”

With the “Greatest Generation, the baby boomers, Generation X and the Millenials all working in the workplace, many changes will transform how businesses evaluate, attract and manage talent in multi-generational workplaces,” he said.

The current economic conditions present an opportunity to modernize personnel approaches to take advantage of the multi-generational talents.

“There’s a glut of talent out there having the right skills, which are always in short supply,” Metzendorf said.