ERE Keynoter Says Economy Offers Recruiters “Seat At The Table”

Did you catch former CNN anchor and business reporter Jan Hopkins this morning giving her keynote live from the ERE Expo, here in Hollywood Beach, Florida?

She talked about the world economic conditions and her own challenge selling a home after four years on the market for less than the mortgage balance. She illustrated the negatives and positives (yes, there were and are some) of the creative financing that is fueling the financial collapse, but which also enabled a young couple to buy her parents’ home with 104 percent financing.

“Imagine,” Hopkins told the audience of about 400 as she referred to President Bush’s call for a world financial summit, “we’re talking about rebuilding the financial structure of the world.”

For recruiters, Hopkins said, the economic conditions mean:

  • Morale needs to be boosted, especially among workers whose options and 401(k) plans have taken a big hit;
  • Compensation plans need to be rethought;
  • Plan for the possibility of more mergers and acquisitions;
  • Difficulty in recruiting workers who have stable jobs;
  • Growing interest in unions, fueled in part by the security of pension plans.

Now is the time for HR to be more proactive, Hopkins says, to “take a seat at the table, closer to the power.”

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Turning to the audience, Hopkins began an interactive exchange, asking about the challenges recruiters were facing.

One recruiter said he finds it hard to attract experienced manufacturing workers because they can’t sell their homes to move. Turning to the “Wisdom of the Crowd,” a theme conference chair Jason Warner of Google sounded earlier, Hopkins coaxed solutions from the group, including one where a company seeking to relocate workers from a community looks for companies bringing workers into the community to work out a house swap.

Warner, in his introductory comments, encouraged recruiters to look for solutions by tapping into the collective wisdom of the group. Putting the economy in perspective, Warner of Google took the stage this morning flashing images of Time magazine covers from years past. Those dealing with economic conditions hailed from recessions past with headlines remarkably like those of the past several weeks.

John Zappe was the editor of and contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.