Wednesday, July 14, 2010

LeBron James: True to his generation

LA Times OpEd "LeBron James: True to his generation" (July 13th, 2010) suggests that young workers are more mobile than older workers. Apparently, this all has to do with generational-characteristics, not economics.
If younger workers have displayed anything as employees, it's that they prize mobility more than they do fidelity to their employers.

"Stability and company loyalty are high values for . . . those whose worldviews were shaped by experiencing the Great Depression in their formative years," Chip Espinoza, Mick Ukleja and Craig Rusch write in their new book, "Managing the Millennials." "But the work world has changed."
At all ages, workers seek to find a job at which they can earn the highest wage, and employers seek the best workers. Since it is not possible to know one's productivity perfectly before actually working at a particular job, workers will not necessarily find their best job immediately, and will continue to look for jobs until they find the one that they believe suits them best. Hopefully, by the time they are 50 all workers will have found their best job.

In addition, unlike their older counterparts, young workers sometimes are building their human capital while working. For example, they may be enrolled in a part time business school. When they are done, the will be able to find a better job. This move has nothing to do with "disloyalty," since firms rarely have higher-level positions ready and waiting for such workers.

The notion that young workers should stay put is completely out of equilibrium, and would likely only occur when productivity differences and wage differences between jobs were trivially small. In the current job market, this is not the case.

1 comment:

  1. LeBron also by some odd coincidence choose to move to a state with no personal or corporate income tax - greatly increasing his ability to keep what he earns. In that sense, LeBron is a part of that great migration of Americans from blue states to red states, from states with a low index of economic freedom to states with a high index of economic freedom. Actually LeBron is in that sense not unlike people the world over. It should be noted that people have been moving to locales - like America - that offered greater ability to keep what you create for centuries.