Does the world looks a scary place...?

Our observations over the last couple of weeks on talking to candidates and others round their careers suggests that in this time of much bad news round the world and also at home that people are polarising into two camps in how they regard their careers. Both have implications for candidates and employers alike. Will this polarisation also persist longer term...
Am writing this just some days after the Japanese quake. It has also been some 3 weeks post Christchurch and the shock we all had at that event + the Middle East has kicked off again. Lots of bad news about - and clearly it is appropriate to pass our sympathies and support to those directly affected. However this blog is about the job market - so - during this period and after interviewing candidates as we do week in week out and doing some general networking I am struck by the following thought...

Over the last two weeks those I speak to seem to lean to one of the following points of view after expressing their shock, horror and sympathy re events:
(a) The world is a scary place, just what will be next..?. Lets just hunker down and build as much security and safety as we can
(b) The world is indeed a scary place but it is reminder that you only live once and lets make the most of the time we have.

Whilst there are other scales of emotion and viewpoint doing the rounds these are the two I find most interesting at this time. It seems to reflect on how we look at things, our attitudes to risk. Professionally it is of interest to us in how our candidates and prospective candidates view their careers and their motivations round moving. We are not big fans of psycho-analytics at FBC so I am not claiming this may overly affect how a candidate can do a job etc. (personally I think you could argue it either way in almost all career options). However our observation is that it seems to have an influence on behavior, and right here and now on how people are looking at their careers. Group (a) preferring the devil they know to group (b) who perhaps are now questioning what they are currently doing and wondering what their alternatives are.

In our job we come across people considering change. We get much feedback on how approachable we are and on how we focus on what is right for the candidate etc so we do I think get into the deep underlying motivations. However we don’t often get many (well more than a very few) openly saying they are considering quite left-field options i.e. group (b). It seems to this observer that a news diet of scary events has at least over the last couple of weeks polarised many into either this group (a) or (b).

The impact on careers should be understated. It may mean that otherwise long serving employees may question what they are doing with their current employer and try something different and may make others take less risk, be less innovative and focus solely on corporate survival. Having sat through many lectures and talks round what seemed to be the divergent views that (i) careers will change more frequently and(ii) many employees are “corporate prisoners” and wont move etc. it does seem from what we see that both are cbeing reinforced recently.

If true, as an employer it means some of your staff will effectively be stuck with you even though it might be best (for you and them) if some of them did leave and others whom you may be particularly keen to keep will announce they are off do something left-field. Neither of these situations are ideal and it makes having a clear understanding of what your employer proposition is to your staff and how you deal with both groups.

If true as a candidate - where do you sit? Are you too fearful to move? Or think that you may as well move and while you are about it lets do a real change as who knows what might happen and you not getting any younger etc.

It certainly makes the recruitment job more difficult as potentially long service may not just indicate loyalty and industry experience may be more fickle.