One of the oft heard laments, back before the credit crunch hit and when times were good, was about the shortage of skilled - or indeed any sort of qualified /suitably experienced personnel. The problem applied equally to suppliers into the manufacturing sectors, such as the metrology industry.
But come the credit crunch and the precipitous decline in demand, companies looked at their personnel situation through different coloured glasses. And here it is interesting to see the apparent differences in approach between the “anglo-saxon” business model and that of, say, Germany. The anglo-saxon companies looked at the massive fall off in sales and cut staff, sometimes massively, certainly decisively, to get back into equilibrium. Early indications at this tentative stage of economic recovery, seems to show that this may have worked. Some are even starting to recruit again. Looking at the German model, for example Carl
Zeiss, the approach was to agree with employee representatives an overall package to overcome the economic situation through such things as flexible working and postponement of a scheduled increase in pay rates. The result is staff retention and a guarantee of employment for the German sites of the company until the end of September 2010. In addition, looking to future needs, the company trained about two percent more young people (totalling 451) over the year before. Which model is likely to be in better shape, have better morale when the upturn comes?
Brendan Coyne - Editor