Chart of vacancies per unemployed people

Why Work Must Change!

Welcome to the first post after my summer break. I also took a 2 week social media break, which was a lot less difficult than I expected! I didn’t miss it all! And had more time to read good books…

I hope you also had the opportunity to step away for a while and decompress.

We really have too many vacancies!

In the Netherlands, for the first time in 50(!) years, we have more vacancies than workers: 106 per 100 workers to be precise. And I could easily add the same chart for other countries. So does that mean the labor shortage is real?

I still say it depends.

If you’ve seen my posts about the “Great Resignation” and the labor shortage, you know I don’t think there is an easy answer. The outlook can be very different, even for similar businesses in the same industry.

What I do know is that every business needs to assess if they are attractive to their future workers, and if not, make sure they will be or risk not being able to fill their vacancies. But that is nothing new.

There are several factors at play, and we’re in the middle of the perfect storm, also because of the pandemic:

  • people care for dependents
  • governments hire people to manage testing and vaccinations
  • migrant workers are unable to enter the country

and the list goes on. If you want more background, take a look at the 12 reasons why you can’t find any workers right now. And before you ask, withholding benefits will not solve the labor shortage. The article also includes links to research on that topic.

A fundamental cause for the labor shortage is the mismatch between available and requested skills. We’re in the midst of moving from the industrial age to the digital age and that means workers will have to learn new skills. We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg here, and this can only be solved when companies and governments work together to fundamentally change the education system.

But the bottom line is: it’s more important than ever to have solid workforce insights. Know your current and future workforce. Who are they and where can you find them? Who can you upskill? Strategize and plan to acquire the skill sets you need not only today, but 2 or 3 years from now.

Why Work Must Change

Are you familiar with Future Forum? I stumbled upon their website and thought it worth sharing.

Their mission is close to my heart:

Future Forum enables leaders to reimagine work through data and dialogue, to create a people-centric and digital-first future of work.

I especially like the focus on data. The forum has a database with survey results from over 10,000 knowledge workers and they share their findings in free reports.

How work gets done has been fundamentally the same for decades. People have changed, technology has advanced, but we’re still using management techniques designed for the industrial age. That’s why they come with a new leadership manifesto.

The Manifesto argues it’s time for a leadership revolution and continues to point out why the abundance of new technologies require companies to adopt new approaches to leadership.

It will be interesting to see where they take this. The Manifesto is a recommended read.

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