I've been through the economic slowdown and recovery cycle before, as have many of you. As such, I find it helpful to consider that history and try to anticipate the challenges that may be waiting around the bend, ready to ambush us as the economy improves.
One frequent side effect experienced during job market comeback is internal pay equity problems. As the typical organization recovers and resumes its hiring activity, inequities arise between new hires brought in during the improved economy and current employees, whose pay has been stagnant (or worse) or who may have been hired "on the cheap" during the downturn. Morale and retention issues ensue and Human Resources is faced with brokering a solution, which invariably involves market pay adjustments along with other tactics.
Many employers have taken advantage of the recession to "purchase" talent that they might not normally be in a position to afford ... and I appreciate that this represents a smart investment on their part. But these employers would be well-advised to keep a watchful eye on the market cost of this talent as the economic picture changes lest these investments turn sour on them. Reactive pay adjustments are invariably bigger than proactive ones, and reactive dollars are rarely as well spent as those delivered with a proactive message and intent.
And so ... forewarned is forearmed: those investments in underpriced talent need to managed carefully as the tides turn in order to truly maximize return.