How companies can succeed despite the global talent shortage

October 21, 2022

Woman applying for a job

The global worker shortage means that companies must rethink their talent strategy 

If hiring falls within your job responsibilities, it’s probably not news to you that companies across a variety of industries are finding it hard to attract and retain talent. There are three main reasons: 

1. Open positions have taken longer to fill since 2015. In 2019, as many as 60% of U.S. employers reported that positions routinely stay open for three months or longer, and these vacancies cost companies an average of $800,000 a year or more. Without the necessary employees, no company can reach its full potential. The price of missing out will reach into the trillions of dollars in lost economic opportunity.   

  2. The talent deficit trajectory is on an unfortunate upward trend. In fact, by 2030 it is projected to number 85.2 million people worldwide (roughly equivalent to the population of Germany) across all skill levels. Not only will that make finding people with the right knowledge and experience more difficult, but it will also come at a steeper cost. A few reasons for the talent deficit:  

  • Automation is expected to relieve humans of more than 5 million jobs by 2025, and by 2030 it’s predicted that many mid-level jobs will become  obsolete
  • In the U.S., baby boomers are retiring, removing 10,000 people from the workforce every day. Since boomers took about half of all new jobs in 2018, their mass retirement leaves a lot of positions to be filled. 
  • The labor force participation rate, which refers to the number of people who are working or actively looking for work as a percentage of the total working-age population, has been in steady decline since 1990, which means there are fewer people to hire. 
  • 85% of the jobs today’s students will be doing in 2030 have yet to be invented. How can tomorrow’s talent gain the skills they need to do jobs that don’t yet exist? 

3. The global pandemic rocked the employment economy. As the most disruptive economic event in the last 20 years, the coronavirus pandemic increased the workforce shortage by tangling up the longer-term talent deficit issue with the immediate-term need to figure out a way to keep operations running. Ultimately, the pandemic fast-tracked workplace changes that were already coming down the pike — including the prevalence of remote work and the skills, technologies and people management strategies required to support a distributed workforce. 

The workforce shortage + the pandemic = a serious overhaul in talent strategy

The trillion-dollar opportunity cost from long-term open positions combined with the aftermath of a post-covid economy has triggered scores of companies to do a serious overhaul in their talent strategy, including:  

  • How they attract, retain and support employees 
  • How to train employees to fill future needs/upskill existing workforces 
  • Where, when and how work gets done 

This forward-looking strategy is called Work In Any Way.

Become a ‘Work In Any Way’ Company

Evolving past the work-from-home model that became ubiquitous in 2020, the newly minted Work In Any Way model is the result of a pervasive mindset shift during the pandemic that saw many workers reevaluate and redefine their relationship to work and how they wanted their day-to-day lives to look.

Work In Any Way is a flexible, unbound approach to workforce management that serves as a collaboration between employee and employer in order to serve the needs of both. People-centric aspects of company culture like remote or hybrid work with flexible hours, mentorship programs, reskilling opportunities, increased vacation time and paid parental leave, for example, can positively impact productivity, morale and company loyalty.

In fact, an increasingly key factor for many job seekers is the ability to choose their work environment and location, in addition to having a human-centered support system in place. So, companies that transform their work environments into ones that attract and retain talent are in the best position to thrive long-term.

Here’s how you can evolve your company into a Work In Any Way company:

Upgrade your talent strategy

Starting with your organization’s goals, think about skill sets that you currently lack and where you anticipate shortages in the coming years. Then, use these deficits to identify key roles to hire for. Make sure your company has a clearly defined culture and prioritize hiring people who are a natural fit for that culture, as opposed to those with the just-right experience. Remember, you can always teach a new skill, but you cannot train someone to fit naturally within a specific work environment.

Make your benefits program highly competitive

How can you attract talent? Offering increased salaries can be an effective method, but it’s certainly not the only option. Ask yourself what other perks your business can offer to entice the talent you need and stand out against your competition. Get creative: think about Google’s 20%-time policy, where employees get to spend 20% of their working time on passion projects for the company rather than on their primary responsibilities. You can also offer remote employment, employee retreats, sabbaticals and educational reimbursements, or come up with your own unique extras.

Upskill your current and future workforce

One of the core tenets of your talent strategy must be to shore up resources in order to develop the skills you’ll need down the road, some of which don’t exist yet. That means you’ll need to devise a way to teach these skills to your employees. Start by creating or expanding training and educational programs. Though technology increasingly plays a role in value generation for many companies, don’t underestimate the importance of your human capital.

Be strategic about global hiring

Employees that can take your company to the next level may live in other countries. Your company should have a future-focused HR strategy in place so that you can attract, hire and retain the right talent, no matter where in the world they’re located.

Position your company to withstand, and even prosper from, the widening employment gap

The projections of the global labor shortage, significantly hastened and influenced by the global pandemic, require companies to invest thoughtfully into how they position themselves to attract, retain and compete for talent.

In today’s work environment, the Work In Any Way model is not just a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have. Companies that aim to attract top talent must create a workplace that prioritizes the balance between business necessities and worker preferences. By providing employees with more options for when, where and how they work, you can better position your company to earn their loyalty, attract new employees by referral and navigate the global worker shortage.

As your company grows, you’ll need tools to help manage your expansion. GEO by Safeguard Global is one tool that can help you easily hire and manage the employees you attract, reducing the stress, red tape, delay and complexity of hiring the people you need.

If you’re ready to learn more, connect with a global solutions advisor today to learn how GEO can help your company successfully navigate the global workforce shortage.   

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