RSS Feed for workforce trendsCategory: workforce trends

More Under Skilled Job Applicants Coming Your Way

The last thing that employers who are seeking skilled workers needs is job hunting advice like this:

4 Steps to Getting Hired When You Aren’t Completely Qualified

That is the headline of a recent Fast Company article. The subtitle continues:

Don’t meet all the requirements for the next move in your career? No matter!

Candidate Sourcing Resu-mess,Applicant ProcessingPosting a job and receiving applications from enough qualified candidates is driving managers crazy. In a recent survey conducted by PeopleMatter, 89 percent of the companies surveyed are having a difficult time recruiting enough qualified workers.  Seventy percent do not find it easy to identify the best candidates quickly. The problem is compounded by high turnover rates and costs (70 percent).

With jobs requiring more skills, often specialized, advice to fake it until you make it sounds like nails screeching on a blackboard to the frustrated hiring manager.

The article then opens with these pearls of wisdom:

… if you’re in the market for a career move, you don’t have to limit your search to positions you totally qualify for.

WOW!  (That advice might even warrant a WTF!)

The truth is the finding skilled workers is getting harder.  There are simply more skilled jobs than there are people who can do the work.  The problem is exacerbated when companies “upcredential,” the process of requiring college degrees for jobs currently performed by high school grads. And as long as we discussing things employers don’ t want to hear – companies are only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding enough skilled workers.

As Boomers retire and technological disruptions mount, skill gaps will widen and shortages will mount. Finding qualified workers will become more difficult and the time to hire will increase. Receiving more unqualified applicants without a plan and process to screen out high-risk and poorly qualified applicants is like dumping more hay on the stack, burying the prize deeper. Advice like that suggested in this article only creates more work and requires more resources to sift through all the noise to find that one-of-a-kind diamond employee.

But to be fair, the advice offered in the article is not totally off the wall. There are good reasons for managers to look outside traditional credentials and experience when hiring.  When focused on competencies like innovative capacity, customer service, managing people, planning and organizing – these skills are transferable from one job to another, from one industry to another.  For sure, some jobs require technical skills and/or a level of proficiency.  But many positions don’t.  And even when they do, technical and administrative skills can be training and developed.  If the candidate has the potential, abilities, and motivation, then hiring a candidate who doesn’t fit the traditional mold makes sense.

But that requires a high functioning screening and selection process. And most companies don’t have the systems, the technologies, or the processes in place to quickly screen out poor fits and identify high potentials accurately.  In many organizations, screening and selection is still a people-intensive fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants crap shoot.

So even when a company thinks they have figured out how to manage the flow of candidates, someone comes a long and throws a wrench into the works – like suggesting that candidates reach for the stars even if they don’t have the qualifications.

Is The MBA and Other Graduate School Degrees Worth It?

(Thanks to Patti Connor for revisiting this topic and writing this guest post.)

In recent years, it has become difficult to defend the costs of graduate school degrees, specifically the MBA. We wrote an article in 2012 titled MBA Tuition Doubles; Salaries Flat – Is The MBA Worth It?, in which we explored this issue with an eye on the numbers. At the time, the picture was quite clear: MBA tuition was growing increasingly more expensive, and the degree was doing less and less to guarantee any type of career boost. Strictly from a financial perspective, the idea of paying for MBA education seemed foolish.

Career ladderBut have things changed since 2012? Inc addressed this issue in the fall of 2014 with an updated infographic analyzing the benefits of an MBA from a top-10 program. It’s tricky to address the question specifically from an ROI standpoint while looking only at top programs, but it’s fair to say that the overall picture is at least slightly more positive. According to the infographic, 2014 forecasted a 16% growth in MBA hiring rates. Even more encouragingly, the article looked at “the 5-year MBA gain”: essentially, the net cumulative amount an MBA graduate would earn in five years compared to what he or she would have made with a previous career path. The lowest amount for a top-10 program was just under $60,000, with the highest just under $100,000.

Keep in mind these aren’t total income numbers; they’re the differences between MBA career earnings and pre-MBA career earnings. Those are pretty significant differences, and they make the idea of paying back tuition loans, at least for top programs (where it’s often been toughest in the past), seem more feasible than in previous years.

It’s also worth addressing that the bulk of these numbers, and this conversation in general, comes with consideration of the job market. We’re inclined to measure the value of an MBA by how many graduates are hired and what their career paths offer. But in 2015, that’s not the whole story, as many also seek advanced business degrees for purposes of personal entrepreneurship. Some may argue that a path to personal entrepreneurship makes an MBA even less necessary—why pay $100,000 or more for a degree when you’re trying to start your own company and don’t need to impress anyone with your resume? But for entrepreneurship, it’s important to measure the potential benefits of an MBA from a perspective of personal growth and direction.

In some ways, this aspect of the MBA experience begins even with the application and continues throughout the process of earning the degree. Menlo Coaching, an online service meant to help with the MBA application and school selection process, makes it clear that one of the most significant parts of pursuing a business degree is determining one’s own professional goals and ambitions. The site’s testimonials reveal a number of clients who are grateful for the assistance they receive in realizing and clarifying these goals and ambitions, and many find that this personal exploration ultimately becomes the beginning of a career in business or entrepreneurship. In short, the process of earning an MBA can give students the nudge they need to figure out what it is they truly want to do, and how best to accomplish it. Particularly for hopeful entrepreneurs, this benefit can outweigh any financial concerns.

Similarly, many young people find a benefit in pursuing an MBA simply out of a desire to change course or switch careers. This may sound somewhat flippant to those for whom an MBA is an oppressive financial burden. However, for those who have solid careers and are looking for something different, it’s a valid perspective from which to determine the value of an MBA. In its own analysis of the value of an MBA, Bloomberg addressed this perspective, stating that “many go to business school less for the potential financial return than from a twenty-something desire to change course.” This is a common reason for graduate school in general. Many graduate college, start respectable careers, and find in their mid- or late-twenties that they want to change course. Graduate school, and for the sake of this discussion an MBA, can serve as a valuable catalyst in such cases.

None of this is to completely defend the cost of an MBA. There are certainly many people for whom the wiser course of action is to continue in a career and never bother with the cost of even more education. But the outlook is somewhat better than when we last addressed this topic in 2012, so don’t discount the MBA’s benefits completely.

Work Trends in 2015 Are Anything but Routine

The future of work (and life in general) is not what it used to be. Nor is the future what many of us were told it would be. 

 

This is true for every company and every person.  But it seems even more relevant for those of us involved in human resources.

 

paradigmaHuman resources professionals find themselves working harder and running faster. It’s no wonder why because they are really running two races simultaneously.  First of all many are trying to close the gap between the needs of the past and demands of the present.  Progress has been slow due to the diminutive endorsement given it by management and the failure of HR to adapt and respond fast enough. Concurrently many are attempting to respond to a very different looking future. Whether it is recruiting candidates, complying with new regulations, or managing what is now a 5-generational workforce (Yes – the oldest Gen Z is graduating college this year!), the workplace and business environment are in a constant state of flux. Policies, tools, and strategies that seemed to work well yesterday have almost no effect and relevance today.  

 

Depending upon your attitude, all this change is either daunting or exciting. It sets a cascade of emotions in place that leads a person to believe in economic apocalypse or entrepreneur-driven optimism. It’s your choice how you respond to these changes.  But regardless of which option you choose, the following mega-trends will shape your workplace, your workforce, and your outlook in the coming months. 

 

With that I offer my list of disruptive mega trends for 2015. Using the proverbial forest and trees idiom, here’s a view of the forest:

 

#1 – Average is over. Tom Friedman hit the proverbial nail on the head with this one: “In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle. But, today, average is officially over. Being average just won’t earn you what it used to. It can’t when so many more employers have so much more access to so much more above average cheap foreign labor, cheap robotics, cheap software, cheap automation and cheap genius…Average is over.”

 

#2 Change is happening faster. Change has always made some jobs obsolete but created new jobs, new products, and new services. But this time it’s different. It’s happening at an unprecedented rate. What once took several decades and even a century or more to play out, now evolves in a few years. With each advance in globalization and the technology revolution, the best jobs will require workers to have more skills and different education to make them merely average.

 

#3 Productivity and worker’s pay gap widens. It’s inevitable. Technology and global competition will continue to force companies to compete by increasing productivity. This will continue to push the demand for skilled workers higher. For this skilled worker group, wages will rise significantly. But let’s be clear.  Wage stagnation will continue for most average skilled and under-skilled workers – just like as it has since 1973. The writing has been on the wall for over 40 years. Yes, that’s correct – for over 40 years. Wage stagnation compared to productivity gains has essentially been ignored. While focused on an impressive productivity increase of 74 percent, the hourly wages of middle-wage workers were stagnant, rising just 6 percent-less than 0.2 percent per year (Economic Policy Institute). And most of that increase is thanks to a brief burst in wages during the late 1990s. The wages of low-wage workers fared even worse, falling 5 percent.  Those trends will continue for at least the near future.

 

#4 Non-degree credentials will begin to replace traditional educational requirements for jobs. Traditional college education has missed the boat. The attempt to put everything into a 2-year or 4-year framework has left businesses struggling to fill jobs and students gasping under the weight of debt. While the academic and government bureaucrats propose ways to make traditional education more affordable (and effective), the “micro college” will begin to emerge. As Michelle Weise so eloquently described in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, “The call for more education compensates for the imprecise signaling power of a college degree.”

 

 creates a need for new skills and more training. Every time a business automates a process, upgrades software, or purchases new equipment, workers need to learn new skills and retire some old ones. Whether the skills are for more basic jobs like data entry and driving a truck or advanced skills for virtual reality, specialized 3D scanning, 3D printing, mobile apps, Internet of Things, flying drones, or reputation management, the need for tech-savvy fast-to-adapt talent pools is growing. It’s growing quickly. And the supply is dwindling – or at the very least not growing fast enough.

7 Trends That Will Change the Way You Hire, Manage, and Retain in 2015

“Average is over,” according to Tom Friedman and the pace of change is accelerating.  These trends spell both doom and opportunity to the world of human resources. Beneath the cloud of these megatrends lies a groundswell of trends likely to change the way companies hire, manage, and motivate employees.

What are these trends that will pop-up during the year that will disrupt and potentially derail many company strategic and business plans?  What do these trends mean for companies that plan to grow with more skilled workers.

New Skills#1 – Skills gaps will widen and worsen. Increasing productivity is the key to remaining competitive. As a result, the competition for workers with the right skills and temperament will increase dramatically.

#2 – Skilled worker wages will rise.  The price to attract and retain a skilled worker will rise. In some industries and/or geographies the increases may be substantial.  Wages for the “typical” worker with average- or low-skills will continue to stagnate – unless of course it is artificially propped up by minimum wage legislation.

#3 – Flying by the seat of your HR pants is dead. HR analytics if available at all has been abysmal. Traditional means of recruiting, screening, and selection are becoming increasingly ineffective. Hunches and gut instinct have no place in talent management. The need to manage talent with the scrutiny and precision companies use for cash flow, inventory, logistics, and supply chain is here and now.

#4 – Source wider and mine deeper. To find talent companies will need to throw out a wide net. That means the quantity of applicants will increase. The diamond in the rough will be buried deeper. Recruiters will need to mine more data faster and more accurately, requiring the use of technology.

#5 – One HR hat does not fill all.  Managing compensation, benefits, and compliance is overwhelming.  Recruiting and retention becomes an after-thought. Like most other jobs, the skill requirements for HR positions are changing. The sooner those companies realize that sourcing, recruiting, selection, and retention require specialized skills and dedicated responsibilities, the more effectively they will compete in the war for talent.

#6 – The employee turnover door will revolve faster. With rising demand comes increased employee turnover. A recent ADP report revealed that turnover is on the rise. But so far the change has been largely industry and/or geography specific. Turnover is not universal – yet. But that should not lull companies into complacency. The competition for key skilled workers is just heating up.  With wage growth for a worker who changes jobs nearly 500 percent more than those who stay (ADP Workforce Vitality Index 2014), companies will need to improve employee engagement significantly and compensate competitively and aggressively.

#7 – Company-led training and development is overdue. As business models evolve and get cannibalized by new technologies, employees need to stay employable and job ready. Waiting for the government and academia to fix the skills gap is foolish. As the comedian Ron White says, “you can’t fix stupid.” Re-skilling America won’t happen over-night. For the time being, companies that expect to have an ample supply of skilled workers need to provide the training and resources to upgrade skills and the opportunity to re-train for new jobs.

4 Types of Workaholics: Which One Are You?

How many people do you know who are afflicted with workaholism?  Our research has recognized 4 types.  You might even recognized yourself in one of the types.

First, let’s sort out a little confusion. Often times employee engagement is confused with workaholism. While many of you may work hard and be engaged, others might be busting your butt…and disengaged.

multitasking workaholicMichael Haberman in a recent post nailed it when he wrote “being a workaholic is not the same as being engaged.”

Engagement is positive. Despite the hard work, long hours, and sacrifice, some people truly love their work. In a quote attributed to Confucious, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” That’s engagement.

Workaholism, on the other hand, is negative, according to University of Georgia professor Lindsay Lavine.

According to Clark and her team, workaholism is like an addiction. Like the addict, workaholics experience the initial “high” but quickly get overwhelmed, stressed, and irritated. Work isn’t fun but something they must do. They can’t stop thinking about it. They become obsessed. They work more and work harder to get another high.

For the workaholic, self-esteem is intertwined with work. If not working hard and/or not getting acknowledgement for all his sacrifice, his ego is hurt. Work isn’t a means to an end – it is the end figuratively and literally.

Workaholics defend their addiction like alcoholics defend their drinking. They make excuses. Beyond the stereotypical denial, they downplay and deny the problem. They rationalize by blaming others for the workload. “What does it matter? I’m not hurting anyone but myself,” they say. “I can stop anytime I want,” they tell themselves.

Companies, management, and even society even encourage and reward workaholism. Workaholics are applauded and put on a pedestal for their dedication, commitment, and loyalty just like the alcoholic is “admired” for the amount of alcohol he can consume and still appear sober.  Rewarding workaholism is like designating the alcoholic as your driver because he’s the most sober in the group. No matter how much he contests or you rationalize, he’s still impaired.

Ultimately workaholism takes a personal toll. The associated negativity and stress doesn’t stop at the office because even when the workaholic isn’t at work, he’s thinking about it. From broken marriages to stress-related illness addiction to work carries a heavy price. Divorce, family conflict, and poor health (both mental and physical) are all possible consequences of workaholism.

Employers might ignore these personal issues if the problems don’t just stop there.  But workaholics make more mistakes. They are involved in more accidents. Their workaholism becomes their badge of courage. It becomes synonymous with self-esteem. Decisions they make are made to protect pride or build ego, not for the good of the team and company. Many workaholics are sleep deprived.  Others are so stressed and burned out that clarity is long gone.

A propensity for workaholism can be uncovered using the Quality of Motivation Questionnaire. It’s important for individuals and organizations to recognize workaholism and help those “afflicted” to it.  Managers need to encourage engagement and not contribute to workaholism. The consequences and implications can be devastating to the employee and the company.

Here are four types of workaholics we have identified:

1. Defeatism. The defeatist denies himself pleasure. This is one of the strongest drivers of workaholism. Excuses abound for the defeatist in action:

“I don’t have the time.”

“I don’t deserve it.”

“The work will just pile up if I took any time off.”

The defeatist gets his fix through personal sacrifice. He’s the one who works late and misses his children’s game and school play so a co-worker can go golfing or get a manicure. He’s the one that gives up his favorite lunch because a co-worker forgot hers. The “thank you” initiates a warm feeling – it’s the quick fix. Unfortunately the guilt sets in soon after he realizes he missed again something he might enjoy.

2. Sabotage. The saboteur loses things he values… or at least used to value. Carelessness marks the workaholic afflicted with self-sabotage because he’s distracted and obsessed with work. He might neglect his health – no time to waste at a doctor’s office. He forgets his wife’s birthday and cancels an anniversary dinner because his boss asked him to finish a project. He misplaces a “thumb drive” that has all of his presentations on it but didn’t take time to back it up.

3. Punishment. This is the one of the most common causes of workaholism. “Nothing comes easy” and “no-pain-no-gain” have become the battle cry of the American work ethic. Now I’ll be the first to admit that effort and sacrifice are essential ingredients for success.  In fact, some degree of self- punishment is required to build pride.  It’s a given that we gain confidence when we push ourselves beyond our comfort zone and achieve something we didn’t think we could do. But when hard work becomes addiction to work, we begin to take more and more risks. We build a tolerance and then have something more to prove. If something isn’t working out despite all our effort and hard work, it must be because we aren’t working hard enough!  Punishment once engaged becomes a self-sustaining negative behavior. We ignore warning signs and endure unhealthy levels of pain and stress. We become overconfident in our ability to recognize our limits. Courage leads to fearlessness and then to recklessness. The punisher starts by injuring only himself but over time begins to put others at risk too.

4. Martyrdom. Misery loves company personifies this behavior. This is the “woe is me” source of workaholism. It stems from a sense of hopelessness and futility.  Even when opportunities to lessen the workload or get relief present themselves, the martyr declines the help.  “What difference will it make?” he thinks.  “You just can’t find good help today” brings a chorus of agreement which is exactly the response that gives him the “jolt” to keep going.  At least he feels that someone understands him.  Martyrs don’t really want to stop working so hard. They want others to feel pity and agree that life’s a bitch.

Perhaps you recognize yourself in some of the examples.  What steps should you be taking on the road to recovery?

Success – however you define it – doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice everything. Work-life balance doesn’t work either. It forces you to think about work and life as a tradeoff.  If you think about work or life, you will always think in terms of what you have to give up.

The most successful people in life are those who figure out how to integrate work-and-life. How well are you doing? How successful are you at integrating work and life?

Work Ethic: Is There An Ambition Crisis In America?

A lack of work ethic is one of the biggest complaints heard from employers about their workers and job applicants. Just ask just about any manager or business owner who is over 40 years old and the mere mention of “work ethic” into the conversation creates a wince, angst, and maybe even a few colorful words.

screening employeesThe complaints are targeted at mostly young people, the Millennials specifically. For years I’ve defended young people upon the principle that it’s not a lack of work ethic but a different work ethic. My response wasn’t academic or theoretical. It was based on interaction with 20- and 30-somethings working multiple jobs to make ends meet, pay off school loans, support a family and so on.  Just like generations before them, many of these young people I met worked hard – very hard.

***** Listen to this interview with Ira S Wolfe about “Trophy Workers” *****

But over the past few years I began to encounter more and more workers afflicted with “work-ethic-deficiency syndrome.”  Contrary to popular belief, this syndrome affects people of all ages – from the teen worker to the aging Baby Boomer.  A sense of entitlement certainly underlies much of the affliction. Many young people feel entitled to the good life promised them by parents, politicians, and educators.  Older workers feel entitled to security on the job and comfort in retirement in exchange for hard work, sacrifice, and loyalty.  Both groups feel betrayed. For some, they are justified in their disappointment and even resentment. For most people, the problem runs much deeper.

Based on our research, it seems a lack of work ethic is only the symptom. The cause is a lack of ambition.  A quick search for the definition of ambition reveals the following:

  • a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.
  • desire and determination to achieve success.
  • an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.
  • An eager or strong desire to achieve something, such as fame or power.

Note the common thread with descriptors such as strong, determination, earnest, eager, strong.  Desire simply isn’t enough.  What is glaringly missing is the passion, purpose, and pride necessary to convert a want and desire to achievement and success.

Whether it’s the need for immediate gratification, a sense of entitlement, or lack of accountability, it’s clear many workers lack ambition – plain and simple. For sure, I’ll get the argument how hard many people have worked to find a job or remake themselves. I’ve heard in great detail, often flavored with colorful language, about the sacrifices made to secure a college degree. Others point to the number of resumes sent and how many times they were interviewed. I agree these people deserve an “A” for effort.

But effort and ambition are not the same. Ambition requires a passion, intensity, and perseverance.  It includes a sense of optimism and hope that keeps you going when everything seems to be going against you.  Ambition requires effort but making the effort does not qualify as ambition. Effort is ambition without emotion. Without purpose, pride, and passion, people just go through the motions.  They expect success to come to them rather than creating and taking accountability for their own future.

Let me explain.  You won’t produce heat in your fireplace by putting a few logs in the fireplace.  You must find the logs, and then light the fire if you want heat. You then have to add more logs to sustain the heat…and keep doing it over and over to keep the fire burning.

Like the fire, many people believe that acquiring the logs is enough.  Others expect the heat to continue in perpetuity without keeping the fire lit. Ambition is continuous. It derives from a passion to attain personal success and prosperity.

Most people go about achieving success and prosperity backwards.  They expect their purpose, pride, and passion to drive ambition when ambition (along with accountability, awareness, and agility) is what fuels purpose, pride, and passion.

Work-ethics deficiency is an epidemic.  Its root cause is a lack of ambition. The loss of ambition isn’t just a lack of emotional response but the lack of a skill.  Too many people simply have lost the ability to attain things on their own. For those people not waiting for the next handout, there are just as many looking for the safety net.

Life is about finding a purpose, pursuing challenges, taking risks, accepting accountability for mistakes, and learning how to recover from setbacks. While a technical skills gap is hurting and constraining many businesses, an ambition deficit will eventually cripple them.

***** Listen to this interview with Ira S Wolfe about “Trophy Workers” *****

Diversity Trends Changing the Workplace

The population will be increasingly diverse. Over the next 40 years, the white population will decline by about 10% while the Hispanic population will more than double. By 2043, the nation will be majority-minority; by 2050, Hispanics will account for 28% of total population, compared with 47% for non-Hispanic whites.

diversity in the workplaceWhile women now make up nearly half of the workforce, only 4.8 percent of Fortune 500 and 5.2 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO positions are held by women.  Mary Barra at GM is the highest ranking female CEO. Currently people of color and women only represent about 14.5 percent and 18 percent, respectively, of corporate boards among the senior management of Fortune 500 companies. (Source: Catalyst)

A McKinsey & Company study found that the increase in women’s overall share of labor in the United States—women went from holding 37 percent of all jobs to nearly 50 percent over the past 40 years. That has accounted for about a quarter of current GDP.

Census data tell us that by 2050 there will be no racial or ethnic majority in our country. Further, between 2000 and 2050 new immigrants and their children will account for 83 percent of the growth in the working-age population.

According to the Census Bureau, people of color own 22.1 percent of U.S. businesses. Moreover, women own 28.8 percent of U.S. businesses, and Latina-owned businesses in particular are the fastest-growing segment of the women-owned business market. Women of color own 1.9 million firms.

According to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, gay or transgender individuals own approximately 1.4 million (or approximately 5 percent) of U.S. businesses.

Read more about Generational Diversity

Jobs Disappearing at Accelerating Rate – Is Yours at Risk?

Nearly everyone agrees the world will look different in years to come.  For many, the future has arrived. Robots and other forms of automation are not just destroying jobs at an accelerating pace but driving many occupations into extinction.

For nearly 15 years I warned of a Perfect Labor Storm, a time when work, the workplace, and consequently the workforce would see revolutionary change at an unprecedented pace. I wasn’t the first to forecast the changes we are experiencing now. I wasn’t the loudest voice either. But I was a steady, reliable messenger of a daunting prediction that unfortunately has come true.

I did however underestimate the changes on two accounts.

First, my use of the word “storm” apparently erred on the side of conservatism. While disruptive and often devastating, storms pass. People pick up the pieces and move on. Life is disrupted but not devastated.  Most people go back to living the way it used to be.

But what we are experiencing is not a storm but a “Job Apocalypse”.

Up until now technological progress produces two competing effects: job destruction and increased production. While new technology often replaces workers, the new technology improved productivity, which tends to lower the cost of production, which creates more demand, which creates new jobs.

These new jobs for the most part require new skills. The skills are typically acquired through more advanced education. Workers who acquired the education and skills have been rewarded with good jobs and higher wages.

At least that’s the way it has worked for the past several centuries.

But now technological progress threatens to alter the course of history.

Oxford University researchers Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne in their daunting landmark study give a taste of what’s to come. They estimate that 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at “high risk” of being taken over by robots in the next decade or two. And we’re not talking about just production jobs requiring more low-level skills.  Affected jobs include accountants, physicians, lawyers, and architects Loan officers, tax preparers, paralegals, and even roofers are at risk. Even more susceptible are low-skill-level jobs such as retail cashiers and salespeople, telemarketers, toll booth operators, and postal workers. Even professional drivers (truck, bus, taxi) are at risk. (If you are suspicious, then you are ignoring how the Google car is changing transportation.)

They wrote in their paper:

Our model predicts that most workers in transportation and logistics occupations, together with the bulk of office and administrative support workers, and labor in production occupations, are at risk… More surprisingly, we find that a substantial share of employment in service occupations, where most US job growth has occurred over the past decades (Autor and Dorn, 2013), are highly susceptible to computerization.

robots taking jobWhile the trend in recent decades has been towards a hollowing out of “middle-skill” jobs and an increase in low-paying service sector jobs and high-paying, highly educated jobs, Frey and Osborne expect that automation in the future will mainly substitute for “low-skill and low-wage” jobs.

What’s most troubling about all these changes are that advances in technology and computerization have outpaced our ability to find new uses for labor. In other words, automation has replaced people at a faster rate than demand for products and services has grown meaning the demand for skills has lagged. Since the number of workers with higher education degrees has exploded, many of these higher-skilled workers are accepting jobs traditionally performed by less educated, low-skilled workers.  The minimally-education, low-skill worker is subsequently pushed further down or out of the workforce entirely.

No one knows for sure what the careers of the future will look like. But the people at the cutting edge of workplace and workforce trends are already watching old jobs disappear at an accelerating rate.

Sources:

The Future of Jobs

Jobs That Will Be Lost to Robots

 

More about Moms Married with Children

married with childrenMoms married with children hardly fit the Peg Bundy type portrayed in the hit TV show Married with Children.  Here are more stats following a recent post about how Stay-at-Home Moms are presenting yet another challenge in employer’s quest to find skilled workers.

Almost three in 10 mothers with children under 18 living with them are stay-at-home moms.

  • 20 percent of all married mothers with children under 18 stay home — half what it was in 1970.
  • One in five children in the United States today lives with a stay-at-home mother married to a working husband. In 1970, 41 percent of children did.

Married mothers accounted for much of the increase in total labor force participation during the post-World War II period (1946-2000).

  • In 1948, only about 17 percent of married mothers were in the labor force
  • In 1985, 61 percent of married mothers were working or looking for work
  • By 1995, their labor force participation rate had reached 70 percent.

Married mothers aged 25 and older with infants are well educated, on average.

  • Nearly half (47 percent) had a college degree, compared with 35 percent of all married mothers of that age group.  
  • Another 26 percent of married mothers of infants had completed 1 to 3 years of college, compared with 29 percent of all mothers. 
  • After peaking at 71 percent in 1997, the participation rate of those women married with infants and holding a college degree had fallen by about 9 percentage points by 2000.
  • In comparison, the participation rate for mothers with less than a high school diploma fell by 8 percentage points, as did the rate for those with some college.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pew Research Center

Stay-At-Home Moms: Another Skilled Worker Hurdle?

At a time when skilled labor is scarce, stay at home moms point to yet another challenge that management faces when it comes to filling open positions, according to new research from Pew Research Center.

stay at home MomAlmost three in 10 mothers with children under 18 living with them are stay-at-home moms. In the past that would not have been such a big deal. But the education of women has risen dramatically in the post-World War II period. For example:

  • Among all women aged 25 and older, the proportion with at least 1 year of college more than tripled, rising from about 15 percent in 1960 to 53 percent in 2005.  (Among men, this proportion almost tripled, going from 18 percent to 53 percent.) 
  • The participation rate for women with a college degree rose from about 57 percent in 1962 to 73 percent in 2005, while the rate for women with some college (but not a bachelor’s degree) went from 42 percent to 67 percent.

As more jobs require advanced skills and nearly all new jobs require at least some post-secondary education, companies can ill afford to lose even a single skilled worker. But over the past few decades, a critical trend went largely unnoticed. It is now having a major impact on recruitment:

There are more women than men that have been going to and graduating from college.

Women now enroll in greater numbers than men in both undergraduate and graduate institutions. Women age 25 to 34 are now more likely than men of that same age group to have attained a college degree, reversing the norm of 40 years ago.

Among women age 25 to 64 in the labor force, 36 percent held college degrees in 2009, compared to 11 percent in 1970 – nearly 325% increase. In contrast, the share of men with a college degree increased by one-half. By 2019, women are projected to account for nearly 60 percent of total undergraduate enrollment.

Over the same period, the proportion of women workers with less than a high school diploma fell from 34 percent to 7 percent.

The trend in graduate school is similar. In 2008, women accounted for 59 percent of graduate school enrollment. As recently as 1998 more doctoral degrees were conferred to men than to women. A decade later, more doctoral degrees were conferred to women than men.

With more women than men holding the skills needed to do today’s skilled labor, stay-at-moms pose a significant threat for business. 

One industry impacted tremendously by women is healthcare. At one time, men were the doctors, women were the nurses.

In 1965, only 8 percent of medical school students were women. By 2012, nearly half of all students and graduates were women.

Companies need to figure out a way to lure these moms back to work with personalized and innovative compensation, benefits, and perk packages. Flexibility and telecommuting for many of these moms will be more important than money. 

But while those changes may be a magnet for the new mom, it creates another management problem – how do you treat these moms differently than your male workers, your young, unmarried Millennials, and your Baby Boomers who are looking to cut back but still keep working?

Enticing these married with children women back to work will not be that easy.  Married women with college degrees typically have husbands with similar levels of education. These husbands are likely to be earning good paychecks, providing their wives with options about whether to work after the birth of children. So while these college-educated mothers invested heavily in their careers, they are often more able to be leave the work force, at least temporarily.