Workforce Development
Group of 5 work together at table

NWLB: The Labor Shortage is Here to Stay

Group of 5 work together at table

Today, economic stressors are impacting our labor force in ways rarely experienced before. Trends within our economy are all converging to create massive challenges for employers, workers, and learners alike, happening within the context of a seismic demographic shift.  

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant reduction in labor force participation due to people prioritizing health and caring for family members and the financial stimulus designed to lessen the blow from shutdowns. Though many workers have been slow to get back into the workforce, the demographic shift at large likely holds the potential for more severe ramifications for businesses. According to a Lightcast labor analytics report, by 2034, older adults will outnumber children for the first time in our nation’s history. As companies are contending with struggles to fill long-open positions, the impending consequences of this demographic shift will only proliferate the pains being felt by American workforce stakeholders.

So, how can American businesses and workforce institutions contend with these daunting issues in the near term to ensure that our ongoing labor shortage doesn’t cause more extensive damage over the long term to the American economy? The first answer is to take advantage of this moment to reinvent hiring practices and invest in talent development. The skills-based hiring movement is already underway and many large companies, like IBM and Accenture, are already reaping its benefits. Effective skills-based hiring models give companies the ability to identify previously overlooked workers who may or may not have gone through traditional higher education and to invest in them by hiring them or providing them with re- and up-skilling opportunities.

A successful large-scale shift in business hiring practices has the potential to create a

… win-win, [in which more workers] will be able to pursue attractive career pathways even without a four-year degree, and companies will be better able to fill jobs that need filling.”

Skills-Based Hiring is on the Rise, Harvard Business Review

Ready to learn more? Read the full No Worker Left Behind report, out now.

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