Big change lies ahead

The common view that our current labor shortage is caused by young people not wanting to work and who were getting along fine on the funds from the government is not supported by facts.  Pew research shows that early retirement whether forced by the pandemic or made possible otherwise is having a huge labor market influence.

Even the meltdown at Southwest Airlines was partly caused by employees who took advantage of buyouts the company offered. America is understaffed. 

We currently have over 10 million unfilled jobs according to the Bureau of Labor statistics with unemployment of about 6 million. Pew research now estimates that boomers are retiring at 5900 per day or 21.5 million each year.

Of course, this number will slow as there are less than 20 million boomers still working, However, it’s fair to expect all of those boomers will be out of the workforce by 2030 as the youngest would be 84 years old.

The latest population growth estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau show about .5% annual growth between now and 2030. If you use current job participation figures to project new 18–24-year-old additions to our workforce, the estimated numbers come in at about 18 million added to the workforce between now and 2030. So, the summary is that as boomers retire, their young replacements will not offset the numbers of boomer losses. In the last six years, our job growth was 26.5 million new jobs. If we grow at half that rate between now and 2030, that’s 13.3 million new jobs. So fewer people to vie for more jobs. Our current shortage of labor will continue through 2030.

Employers will expand their focus on automating as many jobs as possible and trying to estimate that number would be impossible. What is clear is that employees will be in a seller’s market as they sell their services to our nation’s employers. Change is coming.

 Our labor force has morphed over the years according to the needs of Americans. After the war, our GI’s returned home and began their careers. Assisted with the GI bill, they bought starter homes and used the bill to obtain an education, as many went to college. The ladies relinquished their wartime jobs and began to take seriously their main job as Mom’s. In the late sixties and early seventies women began to enter the work force. At first, they settled for lesser jobs and often were able to juggle home and family duties and the job. But somewhere around the change of the millennium, those jobs began to become careers. Women asked their husbands to step up and help with the home and children related duties. Now, it’s a partnership, but technology has made the careers of both earners into a 24/7 commitment. As a result, American families are asking their employers to step up with childcare help and a flexible schedule that supports work/family multitasking. The problem is that most jobs now are provided by smaller employers who are not as flexible or amenable to the asks of their employees. Corporations will lead the way doing whatever is necessary to hire good people, but some smaller companies may be slower in seeing the need for change.

My brother-in-law owns a business which custom builds kitchen cabinets. His kitchens are amazing, and he employs skill craftsmen to build the cabinets. His guys have asked for 6 hour a day schedules so they can take care of other priorities in their lives. My brother-in-law granted their request adding some additional resource to meet production requirements. Everyone wins. Another family business for whom I have consulted has cleverly linked its jobs into a career path. Now they are hiring for a career, not just a job. Very clever and working well. 

Businesses will win the best talent when they provide jobs that fit the lifestyles of today’s workers.

For more information inquire about my book….”Improve Your Bottom Line…Develop MVP’s”

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