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Future of Work Series: Part 1 - Sure Ways to Prepare for Talent Shortage

I explained in my previous blog that the world is facing significant talent shortages resulting from quick technology and renewable energy evolution. The driver for the shortage is the growing need for new skills, and the slow change in the supply of such skills.

This trend is made worse by the advent of automation, robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is making many traditional jobs obsolete, and resulting in major unemployment potential.

Those two “scary” trends have the potential of causing significant economic and social havoc for all countries, rich or poor. As a result, we have to prepare and do that fast.

In this and the next blog, I will address, in a summarized fashion, what humanity needs to do in order to prepare. I say humanity because EVERYONE will have to do something so we can minimize the impact of these changes. In this blog, I start with the business community and what it can do. In Part 2, I will address what parents, individuals, government, and educational institutions can do.

A) Private Companies

Private companies will hurt the most from the two trends above and will benefit the most from the solution. As a result, companies are expected to do the most in helping us prepare. The list below is an example of the steps that companies could take to help the situation. This list is not comprehensive, and I invite others to help me add new ideas and suggestions.

1. Companies in shrinking industries need to cross train employees before laying them off, to prepare them with new skills that they could use in growing industries

2. Companies should change their hiring practices in many ways:

o Reduce the initial requirements and accept 2-year degrees or vocational training.

o Hire, train, then promote “Upskill and backfill”

o Recruit for work experience and skill, not education.

3. Introduce apprenticeship and internship programs.

4. Provide guidance and mentoring for young talent.

5. Increase investment in employee continuing education.

6. Expand in-house training and reinvent training tactics.

7. Invest more in predictive analytics solutions to learn how their business is evolving and what needs to be done. Examples are Visier, Tableau, or TrenData.

B) Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs have a significant role to play in preparing. In fact, by definition, entrepreneurs create value by identifying a need in the market and providing solutions to address such need. And what a need there is. Here is an example of what entrepreneurs can do:

1. Create companies that address the issues above.

2. Create new training companies to address the cross training of employees, and train younger generations in STEAM related skills, such as Education Unbound’s NuMinds Enrichment.

3. Create companies that provide services that can help close talent shortage gaps, by expanding the field of available talent. Hundreds of companies already provide technology outsourcing solutions such as Cognizant, Infosys, CSC, CapGemini or TechGenies.

C) Bankers

Bankers can play a key role in this process. They have large financial resources, a major influence on the startup market, and significant leverage on their existing portfolio companies. Some of the action bankers can do are:

1. Encourage their portfolio companies to look ahead in their planning, and implement sound actions that help relieve some the future shortages and unemployment risks.

2. Create investments to fund entrepreneurs, support educational institutions, and support the non-profits that address the issues at hand.

I cannot think of anyone that will not have a role in helping solve this issue. Everyone will be impacted, whether directly, or indirectly. In future blogs, I will go into more details about the actions that need to be taken by the different groups. In the meantime, I welcome feedback and suggestions from anyone. This is a vast topic, that is quickly evolving. Not one person can put their arms around it. But together, we can make a difference.

Stay tuned for Part II to learn what parents, individuals, government, and educational institutions can do to help solve this issue.


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