As Pool of Workers Declines, Employers Will Offer "Incentives" to Lure Workers, UB Social Worker Says

By Mary Beth Spina

Release Date: July 22, 1994 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- On-site day-care centers, stress management classes and counseling are some of the ways business and industry can minimize employee stress on the job, which, in turn, may help attract new employees in a dwindling labor pool, a University at Buffalo social work researcher says.

"As baby boomers retire and the pool of new, young workers does not grow sufficiently to keep up with employer needs, corporations and others will find it necessary to 'court' prospective employees with day-care centers and other inducements," predicts Hilary Weaver, D.S.W., UB assistant professor of social work.

She says some stress likely will always be present in the workplace, but growing numbers of employers are beginning to recognize that minimizing employee burnout makes good business sense.

An expert in occupational social work, Weaver notes that stress in the workplace is not a new phenomenon.

Since the early days of industrialization, overcrowded workplaces, unsafe working conditions and unregulated labor practices have proven stressful for employees.

"Although working conditions have greatly improved in the last century, many workers still face the stress of balancing family commitments and work," she points out.

Women in particular are trying to work outside the home while caring for their children and, often, elderly parents.

Learning new job skills made necessary by technological changes, and the effects of "downsizing" by many businesses and industries -- which increases the workload of those still employed -- also add to employee stress.

"One of the first questions asked when we meet someone new is 'What do you do?'" Weaver notes, adding that since many people believe their work is a source of identity, their sense of "self" is often changed if they are unable to work because of disability, unemployment or retirement.