A blogging friend of mine, Shennee Rutt, recently started a really good debate on how to end the unemployment crisis. As I’ve been putting together my own thoughts on what can be done, it occurred to me the first step is understanding what’s happening with the economy.
Then I saw this video from former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich called “The Truth about the Economy” (in less than 2 minutes, 15 seconds).
My two takeaways from the video were (1) the key to economic recovery is marketplace spending by the largest group of people – i.e. the middle class BUT (2) compensation for the middle class has not kept up with the rest of the marketplace.
Quite the Catch-22. This leads me to wonder if what’s really happening right now is what has been predicted for years – the elimination of the middle class. And if that’s the answer, can anything be done to stop it?
What I find interesting about the wages and spending discussion is the absence of conversation about human resources. When we think about the department that’s responsible for making sure employee wages are in alignment with the marketplace, well…that’s human resources.
Now, I do understand a company’s ability to pay factors into the decision as well. But if organizations are making record profits and employee wages aren’t keeping up with the market, then on the surface it appears to be perpetuating the concept of the haves and have-nots. Something I’d like to believe HR pros have an opinion about.
I don’t know that I have all the answers here so I’d love to hear your thoughts. The middle class appears to be shrinking. My question is, are companies talking about it and the implications as the gap widens.