Labor Shortage 3

John Sumser's Recruiting RoadshowSo far, a quick look at the data shows that, from a pure numerical perspective, there is no labor shortage. From a cultural perspective, a shift in the composition of the labor supply might be construed as a “shortage” (with reasonably scary subtext). It is possible to understand a potential labor supply problem only when you look at the question of growth.

As mentioned here, there will be 60 Million new workers in the USA over the next 20 years. That’s a 20% growth in the labor supply. Unfortunately, we need about 70% growth just to stay out of recession. That’s where the shortage is. If we just want to break even and have either none or very limited growth, we’re in good shape.

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  1. Lavinia Weissman

    Jon, I offer you a new perspective—sustainabilility instead of growth

    There are 1B young adults coming into the global job market by 2030 and only 300M traditional jobs for them to apply for?

    Economic growth is a paradign of the past. There is an inbalance in the system and I think as I have been discussing with Ami, there is an opportunity for the Road Shows to become a cross sector dialogue of matching job competence with education to prepare people for hire.

    There is also a very significant gap now between the way we recruit and

    1. the way we prepare youth for careers and jobs; (versus classroom education and credentials)

    2. and the way we assist the emotionally mature workforce to stay credentialed for market sectors of value (not growth).

    This is a dialogue and until recruitment reorganizes to serve that dialogue it is not going to move beyond the idea of a sales scenario that grabs “the best ass for the seat.”

    Stay tuned, in my network there are more people willing to step up to the plate of what you invited people to
    putting “physical connection into social network formation.”

    However, it is going to take forming some kind of structure for the “unconference” that is a road map to change and offered with thought leadership and the opportunity to support change in practice, where the recruiters become catalysts of change and industry, the Dept. of Labor and job retraining centers become partners.

    Stay tuned from WorkEcology and Ami–we are talking next week and I hope we can author a values proposition for review in Atlanta.

  2. “Economic growth is a paradign of the past.”

    I am not so sure.

    “There are 1B young adults coming into the global job market by 2030 and only 300M traditional jobs for them to apply for.”

    The numbers are spot on. The problem is that there are only 220M with the right skills, education and training. That’s the reason economic growth has become a choice rather than a logical recurring step. In my view, the only way to “share the wealth” is through sustained economic growth.

    Sustainability is a bottom-line cost cutting approach. It reads well and is in vogue these days. Cost cutting doesn’t get you training for 750M people. Growth oriented R&D with an eye on expanding the pie could.

    Growing the pie is a better way to share the wealth. Share the wealth creation.

    I am really interested in thinking about and discussing the idea of the Roadshow as social change agency with a specific political bent. I’m not sure that it’s anything like a good idea.

  3. Three points:

    One: “Growing the pie is a better way to share the wealth” suggests as a global society with an increasing mobile/virtual workforce we have managed to transcend the prevailing capitalist competition which is to accumulate wealth at the expense of whoever or whatever is being traded and/or work out a sustainable formula for managed economic growth for welfare states or benevolent dictatorships (the “share” models).

    Of course, none of this takes into account totalitarianism in its various encroaching forms, nor the subjugation of impoverished nations by various economic powers. Nor does it allow for hugely divergent value systems that run the full spectrum of permissive and draconian, systems bound to clash in the race for political power and “moral” supremacy.

    So, I’m not sure growing the pie and sharing it is a viable solution any more than I think if we could grow the pie at a rate that keeps up with the growth and distribution of populations increasingly disadvantaged as a skills-capped workforce.

    Two: “The problem is that there are only 220M with the right skills, education and training.” Hmmm. I think we should redefine the problem if we want to solve it. The problem is more that we cannot even anticipate what skills or competencies will be required 10, 20, 30 years from now. So, how do we train for them and in what numbers?

    Do we reprogram our education system to produce “polydextrous” workers and/or adaptive-minds that morph at digital speeds to keep up with the increasing intelligence and ambition of machines? I guess if the answer is “Yes” then who will teach the teachers now? Will we still pay them (in relative terms) peanuts?

    Check out the post/video Shift Happens: A Changing Workforce in a Changing World for some additional context and food for thought.

    Three: “I am really interested in thinking about and discussing the idea of the Roadshow as social change agency with a specific political bent;” what does “specific political bent” mean?

  4. This is getting very interesting Ami, almost interesting enough that I just may come to Atlanta, if I am certain that the 200 participants are ready for this kind of dialogue.

    You see change grows out of dialogue and not presentation.

    My first question is, “How do we define growth?”

    In a mechanical economy we would look at the GNP. That does not work any longer to rely on generalized data of this kind. In fact, WorkEcology’s colleague, Hazel Henderson is working in the EU, to examine the nature of what growth means in a sustainable economy. Go to

    WorkEcology’s other partner. is examing this emergence of new markets as WorkEcology examines what it means to a new emergence into a WorkEcology ValueForce rather than a workforce.

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