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Blythe McGarvie

Blythe McGarvie

Posted: January 31, 2010 07:00 PM

Davos, Jobs and Talent

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Road to Recovery represents the over-arching theme for the annual meeting of business and political leaders held by the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. It sounds like the meeting is modeled after a 12-step program to overcome addictions! The official theme is, Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild. Even the choice of words reflects the idea that what used to work no longer works. It strikes me that this is not the time for reflection, but a time for talent development. We need to get people to work. However, rather than seeking a new job, if you have the talent to start a new business, this may be the right time to do so.

During the Davos meeting, Yoshito Sengoku, Minister of State for National Policy, Japan explained that his country was on track to a gradual recovery, but, he warned that the manufacturing industries are operating only at a rate of 80% of capacity. He concludes that "we have a latent internal unemployment held by various business corporations...Many companies try to maintain the employment without laying off the workers." Japanese managers continue to put a drag on the country's recovery when they do not address the root of the problem of unemployment. Unemployment in Asia, as in Europe and the U.S., is likely to worsen before it improves.

The global economy has experienced downturns in the past. The Kauffman Foundation completed a study in June 2009 to understand how jobs are created. The study, "The Economic Future Just Happened," found that more than half of the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list were launched during a recession or bear market, along with nearly half of the firms on the 2008 Inc. list of America's fastest-growing companies. The key conclusion from the analysis is that "new firm formation represents two unqualifiedly positive things. Hundreds of thousands of individuals do not wait for others to ease their economic pain -- they create jobs for themselves and others. Young firms, moreover, frequently add jobs and generate innovations well out of the mainstream." It takes talent, the discipline of starting your own business and the willingness to exercise courage to take justified risks. If you are seeking a job, consider learning about the needs of this new economy and matching your talents to those needs, in a business you start yourself or with others.