Where Have All the Workers Gone?
This is probably the most frequent question I have heard business leaders ask over the past 2 years: “Where have all the workers gone – and how can I attract and keep them?”
Nearly every industry is struggling with finding enough workers to run fully staffed. For so many employees the pandemic was a professional awakening, causing them to reevaluate their professional careers – not only what they want, but also what they’re no longer willing to tolerate.
Who’s calling the shots these days?
One overlooked segment of the labor pool is what I call the “discretionary workforce.” The discretionary workforce includes those groups who do not have to work, but in the past, pre-pandemic, they chose to work. Who, specifically, are the people falling into this category?
1) People around retirement age. Many people enjoy working and don’t want to retire or fully retire.
2) Recent college graduates who decide to delay starting their careers (e.g., staying on mom and dad’s “payroll”) because a graduate school with its further degree requirements looked like a better alternative.
3) Stay-at-home parents (mostly mothers) who don’t need to work for financial reasons but liked to work a few days a week for sanity purposes.
4) The “gig economy” is another crevasse in the labor pool, with hidden workers who continue to reduce the available workforce. They include those former employees looking for independence (e.g., solopreneurs), Uber and Lyft drivers, business coaches, virtual assistants, freelance writers, and other nontraditional workers.
John R. DiJulius III, author of The Customer Service Revolution, is president of The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm that works with companies including Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Ritz-Carlton, Nestle, PwC, Lexus, and many more. Contact him at 216-839-1430 or email@example.com.
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