Updated: Aug 18, 2022
We now face a tight labor market with fewer resources to pull from when it comes to human capital
In the United States right now, there are more than 10 million jobs for the fewer than 8.4 million workers who are unemployed, according to a September 2021 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Closing those talent gaps would appear to be simple, but the unusual circumstances and shifting norms of the pandemic seem to be prompting a broader awakening among Americans in their attitudes toward work and the workforce, with 4.3 million Americans (2.9 percent of the entire workforce) quitting their jobs in August alone.
For some reason, the “Great Resignation” has come almost as a surprise, as employers somehow expected workers to return to low-paying jobs with zeal. As The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson put it bluntly, “Since the 1980s, Americans have quit less, and many have clung to crappy jobs for fear that the safety net wouldn’t support them while they looked for a new one. But Americans seem to be done with sticking it out.”
Part of what we witnessed with the onslaught of the pandemic was the lack of mechanisms we had in place to identify transferable skills to move people from those “crappy” jobs to better economic opportunities. At one point, the unemployment claims tallied to over 36 million, revealing how incredibly stuck Americans were, unable to transition into a more promising field.
To exacerbate matters, few employers offered clear pathways to advance within the company. According to one survey, 44 percent of employers offered zero upskilling opportunities to their employees. For many, there was simply no roadmap to get ahead — to figure out which skills to build in order to thrive and find fulfillment.
But we know from labor market information enabled by artificial intelligence that a retail worker might be 70 percent of the way there toward a role in human resources and just doesn’t know how to articulate those skills. A server might be 40 percent of the way toward an in-demand role as a network analyst and just needs those skill gaps illuminated. Workers need ways to surface the skills they bring to the table, as well as the skillsets they need to acquire that will be critical for advancement.
Even though we may not be able to predict the jobs of the future, we can begin to crack the labor market code in today’s economy and home in on the hybrid, or human and technical skills that will help working-age adults prepare for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
Read more about those hybrid skills here at Chief Learning Officer: https://www.chieflearningofficer.com/2021/11/30/hybrid-skills-are-ascendant-in-the-post-pandemic-talent-economy/