The global talent shortage that began before COVID-19 entered our lexicon has only accelerated thanks to the pandemic. Companies that can successfully manage the labor market have a competitive advantage over other organizations that are falling short in the battle for talent.
With 69% of employers around the world reporting they cannot find the workers with the skills they need, the recent ManpowerGroup report, The Great Realization: A Look at the 2022 Labor Landscape, finds whoever holds the talent holds the future.
The talent shortage challenge is a complex issue with no easy answers. Several factors are at play, including:
Shifting demographics (including shrinking birth rates)
Reduced mobility across borders
The rise in early retirees
Lower workforce participation due to “The Great Resignation”
Women leaving the workforce
Though these are far from the only factors, they are contributing significantly to a growing threat to businesses in every sector - talent is scarce and everyone is looking for the needle in the haystack.
But behind every challenge lies opportunity. Now is the time for organizations to get even more creative in attracting, recruiting, upskilling, reskilling and retaining valued workers. Already, we find companies stepping up to meet the challenges head on. The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey for Q4 of 2021 found, over 30% of businesses plan to increase wages to attract and retain talent and 1 in 5 employers plan to offer more benefits such as additional vacation time. It's a start, but more will need to be done.
As we continue exploring the top 20 trends shaping the world of work in 2022 and beyond, we take a closer look at 5 trends for how to navigate talent scarcity.
Trend #1: Skills Scarcity Is Driving Employer Creativity
With more than half of all workers (58%) needing new skills to get their jobs done, the skills revolution is in full force. Reskilling and upskilling will become non-negotiable for individuals and organizations as roles continue to require more skills than before, with both tech AND human capabilities most in demand. As the need for soft skills, including adaptability, communication, teamwork, and more take on increased importance, employers will need to ensure their people are constantly being provided opportunities to improve their skillsets. Invest in people and they’ll pay dividends for business
Trend #2: The End of the Generational Era – No More Boomers, Millennials, or Gen Z?
By 2030, people under the age of 35 will make up 75% of the workforce. The generational divide that has segmented the workforce will continue to dissipate until dissolving completely in less than a decade. On our way to that point, people of all ages will demand even more personalization while resenting being boxed, labelled, and pitched against one another. Younger workers are set to swell the workforce and as inflation rises and savings dwindle, the pandemic-exiteers will likely return to drive the gig work boom across generational lines. To bridge the talent gap, will organizations need to hire? integrate? workers from every generation to comprise their workforce mix. Plan accordingly.
Trend #3: From She-cession to She-covery
People from all walks of life have been hit hard by the pandemic. But it’s been especially damaging to women. According to Deloitte’s Women @ Work: A Global Outlook 2021 report, 51% of women are less optimistic about their career prospects than before the pandemic, with 57% saying they plan to leave their current job within two years. Progress that was made in closing the gender gap has hit the brakes with women leaving the workforce at alarming rates. Mass exoduses from sectors typically dominated by women - education, healthcare, and hospitality – coincide with rapid growth in tech, logistics, and sales where women are under-represented.
As women are increasingly getting more college degrees, producing more valedictorians and getting higher GPAs than men in STEM, it will be the employers who provide choice, flexibility and performance-over-presenteeism that will attract and keep the best and brightest, all while driving the skills and growth agenda.
Trend #4: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging – Progress, Not Pledges
Actions speak louder than words and people are no longer content with lip service and empty promises in the realm of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). Though more than 30% of companies already deploy D&I training programs, continued polarization along lines of politics, race, identity and age means organizations will increasingly be asked to take positions on social issues. All stakeholders – investors, regulators, customers and employees – will expect even more transparency around progress, not just pledges, and will be held accountable. Organizations will need to visibly action diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging so everyone is able to benefit from economic recovery, tech advancements and climate justice.
Trend #5: Sense and Sensibility – The Future of Work Must Work for Families
Rethinking the future of work needs to be as much about family and care as it is about tech, robotics and machine learning. In ManpowerGroup’s What Makes Workers Thrive survey conducted in December 2021, nearly 1 in 4 workers are looking for employers who provide benefits such as parental and caregiving leave. Employers who provide caregivers (across all genders) with choice – flexibility and performance over presenteeism – will attract and keep the best and brightest. To win the war for talent, employers will need to reexamine and rethink how they accommodate the priorities of their workforce.
The global talent shortage is reshaping the game for workers and employers alike. As we continue to move towards a new normal, understanding the issues shaping What Workers Want and meeting those needs is the key to solving today’s talent shortage problem. Companies that are able to go beyond what they’ve previously done for their employees will be able to weather the storm and successfully recruit the best people for their organizations.
For more information about Talent Scarcity and other key trends for 2022, download The Great Realization: Accelerating Trends, Renewed Urgency - A Look at the 2022 Labor Landscape.