Money - Jobs
By: - at January 20, 2013

Trends in the Job Market and the Growth of the Service Sector

Seek EmploymentFor anyone seeking employment today the job market has become a truly frightening and competitive place.  Opportunities in heavy manufacturing that in the past dominated the U.S. economy are evaporating as well as many positions in the service industry.  Ranging from sales, health care administration, and banking these positions are becoming harder to find making today's job market one of the most competitive in American history.  With the "Great Recession" still contributing to rising unemployment rates as well as what has become referred to as the looming "financial cliff", financial stability and job security have replaced a job's financial compensation as a much more important characteristic to the American worker.  Workers are accepting less pay in the hope that their position at a company will be more secure.

Job Security and Planning for the Future

Job Security ensures that mortgages and everyday expenses are paid but further than that it allows for financial planning as a means for future cash flow, security, and retirement planning.  Too many Americans based on their current occupations do not have the additional income required to begin saving for that infamous rainy day.  Living paycheck to paycheck is causing a shift in how Americans perceive their employment, a change in aversion to risk as far as pursuing alternative forms of employment, and is leaving many Americans staying at jobs just because of the fear of finding another form of employment.

Changes in How Workers Perceive Their Employers

Employee CompetitionTaking a quick snapshot of a recent trend in employment is the trend of employees becoming less nested or tied down to a current employer.  This is illustrated by workers changing employment more frequently and suddenly than ever before.  Today it isn't uncommon for an employee to come and work at one firm for less than six months and then leave to peruse another employment opportunity.  Sometimes these workers are headhunted or recruited away from their current positions often by competitors most commonly for greater compensation or positional authority.

Focusing on the period starting with the successful implementation of FDR's New Deal and ending during the late 1980s there are several key differences in the workforce.  Both blue collar and white collar workers alike had very little previous work experience because most of the time training was done on the job.  Very little young people had a four year degree, and some applicants had little to no formal education before they started at their job.  Workers kept jobs for much longer periods of time than do today where in the past, making a career out of a position was a primary goal.  Making a job a career had the advantages of raises, pensions, and benefit packages where retirees could actually retire comfortably at a reasonable age.  Today it is very rare for a new occupation to offer a pension and with the recent pension buy-outs by companies like Chrysler it is clear that life-long pensions are a thing of the past.  By removing incentives companies are making it harder for employees to become truly vested in them which is decreasing loyalty, productivity, and trust.

U.S. Economy and the Trade Deficit

US Trade DeficitThe service industry in this country is booming.  Almost all new employment opportunities are service related and range from health care, insurance, social work, retail, restaurant staff, as well as other independent opportunities.  It is a strong belief that heavy manufacturing in this country is dead and the future is in healthcare, infrastructure, and power generation.  A trade deficit exists in the U.S. because our economy as a whole makes less goods and services than what we buy from other countries.  When the value of goods and services we import is higher than the level that we domestically produce, a trade deficit exists.

A trade deficit has existed in this country for approximately thirty years.  Some concerns are that we are becoming less self-sufficient that could potentially make us vulnerable during a time of war.  For example, our nation's growing dependence on foreign natural resources like oil, natural gas, and precious metals could make diplomacy one of our most important concerns in order to preserve these supply channels.

Recent Shifts in the Workforce

With domestic, heavy manufacturing on its way out everyone is feeling the effects.  Traditionally considered blue collar positions, these skilled labor positions have seen a serious decline into almost oblivion due to outsourcing, cost-cutting, and internal redundancies in personnel among white collar positions.  For one of the first times since the blue collar white collar divide, both blue collar and white collar workers are finding themselves out of work and seeking the same service opportunities the new U.S. economy offers.  Anything from working as a bank teller, hospitality opportunities like front desk personnel at a hotel, and truly anything are what skilled laborers or managers are picking from in order to make ends meet.

Service Marketing

People, Process, Physical Evidence

Service marketing is an extension of the traditional marketing mix consisting of the four P's: price, product, place, and position. Service marketing is referred to as the seven P's, and the additional components are physical evidence, process, and people.

Physical Appearance:  The look and feel of the store, facility, and environment where business is being conducted

People:  Employees that provide the service to the customer.  Sometimes referred to as front-line staff.

Processes:  Policies and plans of actions that give protocol for dealing with any problems that may have occurred during the service encounter giving guidelines for something called service recovery.

Finding the Right Fit for the Right Job

The Right JobService industry positions require a certain type of attitude and workplace personality.  Some people do great at their jobs making customers feel welcomed, appreciated, and allow companies to preserve their success.  These positions require people to be essentially people persons and not everyone, especially those who have been recently laid off, have the best attitudes.  Successful service industry work is not for everyone and employers are becoming more selective than ever before because of the recent trends described above.  Many applicants are only applying because they need the source of income desperately and this activity has some negative consequences.

By hiring the wrong people for the wrong job a temporary displacement is caused where many service oriented companies all of a sudden have employees working for them they may not of traditionally hired.  This can go one of two ways: The best scenario is that the new hire does their job well and adapts to the socially challenging nature of a service sector position. The worse case scenario is that the poor hire remains at the position as long as possible performing it negatively.  With each negative interaction with a customer the employer's image, reputation, and brand are harmed.  It is well known in service marketing that although a customer may only tell a few friends about a good service interaction, they will tell almost ten times as many about a negative experience.  By making good hiring decisions from upper management all the way down to the front desk manager at for example a hotel chain, good customer service and service encounters will be ensured providing for long-term profitability and success.

Employees in the Wrong Jobs


With so much going on in the job market lately and adding to the sheer number of college graduates currently seeking employment, it is clear that many are taking jobs just for the sake of experience.  If too many employees that are not motivated by more altruistic factors other than just receiving a paycheck than corporate culture can begin to be altered negatively.  A major concern is that eventually, the perceived value of some of our nation's most successful brands like Starbucks and even McDonald's, can be harmed by the hiring of what is most readily available; not the most desirable.  Looking to the future service personnel must be ready to adapt quickly to their surroundings, deal with personal customer interactions with ease, and keep a positive attitude.  By making sure recent hires are good hires all of the negative consequences discussed here can be avoided.

Managers need to have honest and open dialogue with their employees and give periodical performance reviews.





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Trends in the Job Market and the Growth of the Service Sector

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