After huge recent fluctuations in the job market—record low unemployment in the months before the Covid-19 pandemic, record job losses during, and record re-hiring in the aftermath—employers are facing more severe talent shortages than any time since we at RainmakerThinking began our workplace research in 1993.
While the particulars differ by geography, industry, skill specialization, and rank in the organizational hierarchy, the evidence of talent shortages is widespread:
Many observers point to acute, post-pandemic, presumably short-term factors:
While most of these acute factors will ebb with time, there will also be lasting echoes, especially given the longer-term trends that have been steadily transforming the employer-employee relationship.
Globalization & Technology. Globalization and technology have reached a point where the world is so highly interconnected and rapidly changing that adaptability has replaced stability as the strategic imperative.
Job security isn’t a guarantee. Institutions must be flexible, so employers can no longer pretend to offer job security to even the most loyal employees. Individuals must fend for themselves and their families, so employees must be prepared to sell t heir work to the highest bidder. This may mean whomever offers more money, flexible time or location, or otherwise.
Shorter terms of employment. Employer-employee relationships become less and less long-term and hierarchical and increasingly short-term and transactional as new modes of work continue to emerge. First there was temping and part-timing, now the gig economy.
More flexibility. Employers have learned from the Covid-19 pandemic they must be even more lean, flexible, and adaptable. Read: smaller real estate footprints and fewer permanent workers. Many employees, for their part, are recalibrating their career ambitions and plans, opting—at least for now—for more life in the balance with wo
Meanwhile, the supply and demand curve for employees promises to be unforgiving to employers for the foreseeable future:
Read more from our new white paper, Winning the Talent Wars: Recruiting and Retention for the Hybrid Workplace.