labor crunch

3 Ways to Get There Faster Through the Ongoing Labor Crunch (2022)

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labor crunch

The business world is experiencing an unprecedented labor shortage. The thought leaders have been stipulating how AI and automation technologies could bridge the gap. Before we jump to the solution, we need to understand why this shortage is being experienced by most organizations. 

The shortage of labor is driven by the skill shortage, not the headcount shortage per se. Prior to the pandemic, the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Future of Jobs report predicted that by 2025, the workforce would need specific advanced skills like complex problem-solving. But pandemic pulled that need some five years earlier than most organizations had thought. The world was not ready for this technological explosion and massive skill gaps.

PUTTING AUTOMATION IN THE RIGHT CONTEXT

Why can’t we use automation to cover the labor shortage?

We might think that the labor shortage will automatically propel organizations to adopt automation and AI kind of technologies to counter those shortages. That would be true if the labor shortage was just in manufacturing space or at the blue-collar workers’ level only.

But we already see is that this shortage goes beyond that.

We need to pay attention to the supply chain here. Automation and AI are downstream technologies that come out of a gamut of upstream technologies like semiconductors, high-end computational servers, network infrastructure, advanced software development, etc. Ironically, these upstream sectors are facing even far worse talent shortages throughout their supply chain, starting from research, development, design, manufacturing, logistics, distribution, installation, and service.

These sectors need a workforce with highly advanced skills today to drive product development and innovation and manufacturing. But they simply don’t have enough. I highlighted this issue in my book titled speed matters it takes over 1-2 years to master some of these high-end skills. So, realistically, if we start today, it will take a couple of years to close all the skill gaps.

So, the transformation of manufacturing sectors that we are talking about would have a lag unless upstream industries ramp up their skills and ability to produce fast enough. It is a sort of egg-n-chicken situation.

Job elimination fears because of automation are over-stated

Some experts predicted job elimination due to the latest technologies, like automation, robotics, automated manufacturing lines, remote diagnostics or AI. We have to be real about it. Any job that is routine, predictable, and algorithmic in nature can be done by automation or AI-based technologies far better, faster, efficiently, and accurately than humans. So, logically, several jobs are likely to be eliminated as a result of that. That happened back then when computer technologies evolved at the onset of Industry 3.0, but you see, at the same time, those revolutions created far more jobs than someone could have imagined. Similarly, Industry 4.0 has created far more jobs throughout that supply chain than ever seen in history. Now, more jobs mean more shortage of skilled labor and talent. So, I think job elimination is probably over-stated.

HOW DO WE HANDLE THE LABOR CRUNCH

1. Extending positive support to labor to transform

The dynamics at the workplace are changing. Blue-collar manufacturing workers and unions both have to see that new technologies actually create better working conditions for workers and can allow for more growth opportunities. It is in the best interest of workers to support such transformational initiatives.

At the time, the leadership and unions alike need to positively support workers on their way to adopting technologies as a competitive edge in their jobs. These technologies can truly give businesses a competitive advantage of speed, which in turn saves jobs.

2. Rethinking job redefinition, reskilling and upskilling

I want to add that it will take some time for a newly hired workforce to become fully productive. Until then, organizations need to rely heavily on reskilling and upskilling their existing workforce. So leadership, workers, and unions need to work out how job redefinition, reskilling, and upskilling will occur over time in a phased fashion. In the long run, it will be good for everyone.

3. Establishing a supportive ecosystem

In the book Speed Matters, I highlight that if leadership in big tech is to adopt technologies at the speed of business; they need to set up a speed-enabling ecosystem for their workers. Blue-collar workers, unions, and other bodies have a significant role to play in that ecosystem.

In your context, how are you handling the workforce shortage? 

SPEEDING UP THE RESKILLING PROCESS

A key part of the solution is to speed up how fast we reskill or upskill our workforce. More often, leaders miss paying attention to how long the workforce typically takes to become proficient in new skills or new jobs. Thus, time to proficiency metrics become even more important in today’s context in this fast-paced world. I conducted massive research with 85 world leaders in my book “Speed Matters.” A key finding was that the time to proficiency of employees across the board is upside of 6 months. In the current environment, waiting for the workforce to become proficient within 6 months is too long. Thus, leaders need to set up systems and strategies to speed up the process of reskilling and upskilling through a speed-enabling ecosystem. 

Through two decades of extensive research, I have cracked the code of speeding up workplace learning and performance curve by 200% to allow any employee to learn or achieve the same goals in half the time. Tune into GetThereFaster™ system at https://get-there-faster.com to learn how it enables its patrons to speed up their learning, performance, authority, and leadership in a much shorter time.

This article first appeared in Brainz Magazine, available at this link: https://www.brainzmagazine.com/post/3-ways-to-get-faster-through-ongoing-labor-crunch

About Dr Raman K Attri

Dr Raman K Attri is the world’s #1 authority on the science of speed in professional and organizational settings. He is the world's only professional speaker speaking on the topic of the science of speed. He is the author of 23 multi-genre books. As a performance scientist, he has been recognized as one of the leading ‘Transformational Business Leaders’ of 2022. He was named as one of the ‘Global 500 Leaders’ of 2021, alongside stellar leaders like Oprah Winfrey, Gary Vee, Jim Kwik, and Jay Shetty, to name a few. He has made his space as a true accelerated learning guru, earning over 100 international credentials and degrees, including two doctorates in the learning domain, apart from some of the world’s highest certifications. A corporate business manager, he has been featured and cited in over 125 media features in TV/radio shows, magazines, podcasts, and forums.

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