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Hold On Tight

Better work on keeping your top-notch talent now--while it's still an employers' job market.

This story appears in the August 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

At the moment, employers control the job market, able to hire and fire employees as they see fit. But employer-friendly labor markets don't last forever, and the next labor crunch could be even worse than the one seen in 1999. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting a shortage of 4 million workers by 2006 and 10 million workers by 2010, numbers influenced both by demographics and a shrinking pool of skilled labor. Some industries, including nursing and engineering, are already suffering from a shortage of talent.

With well-trained workers in limited supply, it may be time for you to create some old-fashioned loyalty, where employees stick around for years, if not for the gold watch. "Everyone available to work for the next 25 years has already been born," says Marc Drizin, employee- loyalty specialist with Walker Information, a survey research company in Indianapolis. "It's going to be incumbent on [entrepreneurs] to engender loyalty for as long as they possibly can."

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