There’s a lot of news lately about a “talent shortage” in the US. Some industries claim it’s the root cause of limiting services, reducing hours of operation, or closing altogether. While this may be true in some instances, I don’t believe it applies across the board. Before the pandemic, there were areas of the economy experiencing a talent shortage, but plenty of people to do the jobs in other industries. In my opinion, folks were literally working themselves into early graves and stuffing their personal lives into a few hours on nights and weekends.
So what happened?
The pandemic changed everything. The truth is many workers rarely had an opportunity to consider changing their lifestyle and putting self-care first. But the pandemic gave workers a paid opportunity to take a hard look at their lives and future prospects – and many of them didn’t like what they saw. They’ve decided employers paying a “fair market wage” was one-sided and failed to consider workers could, would, or should walk away for their own good. Now employers are grappling with workers aware of their autonomy, willing to leverage walking away just as employers treated them as expendable.
Remote work affords a lot of folks a couple of things consistently taken for granted:
- Control of their time and locale during the day. The monolithic block of 45-50 hours at the office evaporated, but workers were comparatively or even more productive without an office or a commute.
- The importance of their participation in family and other personal activities. As workers, they already knew they were trading their time for money, but they decided their time was much more valuable. They decided to find a job they enjoy more and raise their price for their time doing it. Not just financially.
- Expect me to miss my baby’s second 2 weeks of life? You’ve got to pay a lot more for me even to consider that now – and the answer still might be “No.”
- Prefer me to miss time with my 80-year-old parents in what could be their last days? To serve burritos and be scolded by anti-maskers – or attend a bunch of useless meetings? I realize now that you don’t pay or appreciate me enough to do that for you now.
- Think I need to come in even though I feel terrible today? Yeah – I love myself more than the money. I can find another job, but I can’t find another body. Thanks, but No thanks.
The bottom line?
There’s no talent shortage!
The issue here is the price for hiring, training, and retaining talent just went up.
Not just financially – a massive part of this cost is shifting their approach from treating workers as disposable assets to respecting them as human beings that can make or break their business. Employers will choose to pay up by forfeiting some of this perceived dominance over workers to rebalance the relationship – or resist at their own peril. Some employers have already taken the high road. As more employers meet the demand for training, better wages, and better working conditions, job seekers will face competition for desirable positions again. All of the traditional tropes of “standing out,” “personal branding,” and the rest of it will return as pathways to a great career return to the conversation.
Some new norms will also remain in place – like remote video interviews and online networking. Job seekers communicating their value through video is now germane and a prerequisite to getting hired. If you don’t have a plan for mastering this critical skill, now is the time. We have a free ebook available to show you how to meet the challenge! Just fill out the form below, and we’ll send it to you. There’s also an inexpensive masterclass with step-by-step guides to get you started fast! It costs less than eating lunch at home or the office for a week, so what are you waiting for? Don’t wait for another pandemic to choose your path.