Many ideas about the workforce today are ill-conceived rumors. Let’s put your knowledge to the test…I’ll pose a question and you can guess the answer based on your beliefs or experience. Then you can find out just how much you know about our ever evolving workforce.
Who makes up the majority of the workforce?
A) Generation X B) Millennials C) Baby Boomers
The majority of our workforce (35%) consists of millennials, 15-35 years of age, meaning dramatic changes in the skill sets of our labor force. This faction was raised on the internet and as a result tend to be more tech savvy and social media aware than previous generations.
Is there a worker shortage?
A) No, there is no shortage of workers. B) Yes, we have a shortage of low-skilled skilled workers. C) Yes, we have a shortage of highly-skilled workers.
This is a bit of a trick question. We currently have a shortage of highly-skilled workers and of low-skilled workers willing to work. Since 1983, skilled jobs have grown two times faster than low-skilled jobs; however, there is a shortage of low-skilled laborers willing to take employment in careers such as trucking, where there are currently 35,000 available jobs. There is also a shortage of laborers to fill highly skilled careers such as welding. The focus has been in education vice mastering a skill. To quote Mike Rowe, “we are lending money that ostensibly we don't have, to kids who have no hope of making it back, in order to train them for jobs that clearly don't exist.” Whether or not one agrees with this proposal, the problem does exist. The answer might lie in the changing workforce which has increasingly become service oriented as opposed to manufacturing and producing oriented. It is estimated that 86% of US jobs are service related. With such a focus on service, our millennial generation has forgotten about the manufacturing careers that can pay big bucks.
True or False…Freelancers make up only a small fraction of the workforce.
False, one-third of our workforce are freelance laborers composed of independent contractors, moonlighters, diversified workers, temporary workers, and entrepreneurs that consider themselves freelancers. Why exactly is 34% of our workforce considered freelance? The internet has facilitated in the expansion of freelance work through multiple outlets, from online marketplaces to personal websites and through the use of social media marketing. E-commerce has provided the opportunity for entrepreneurs to sell their goods or services to foreign buyers in a hassle-free manner. Bonus question…Who makes up the largest portion of freelance workers? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count…Millennials, of course.
True or False…Internet net use has leveled out and is not expected to grow.
It’s obvious that the internet has changed our culture and the way we do business; but believe it or not, there are more changes to come. Technology is leaning towards an entirely different type of user on the internet; things. Instead of just smart phones, iPads, and computers connecting to the internet, we are seeing sensors, machines, and complex systems connecting to the internet. It is now possible to turn off the lights in your home through your phone, or arm your security system, and it is even possible for sensors in sewer pipes to connect to the internet. Cisco Systems is estimating that 50 billion things could be connected to the internet through communication networks within six years. So how does this affect the workforce? Things will inevitably start replacing people.
The only constant in business is change; it’s the only thing we can absolutely count on. The same goes for our workforce.
Have you noticed any new trends bringing change in your local workforce?