| David DeLong|
|DELONG REPORT-ARTICLES ON SKILLS GAP SOLUTIONS|
|President Trump Is Sending NASA Back To The Moon : The Two-Way : NPR|
|President Trump has formally told NASA to send U.S. astronauts back to the moon.|
"The directive I'm signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery," he said.
Standing at the president's side as he signed "Space Policy Directive 1" on Monday was Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, one of the last two humans to ever walk on the moon, in a mission that took place 45 years ago this week.
Since that time, no human has ventured out beyond low-Earth orbit. NASA doesn't even have its own space vehicle, having retired the space shuttles in 2011. Americans currently ride up to the international space station in Russian capsules, though private space taxis are expected to start ferrying them up as soon as next year. [More]
I'm always interested in the latest discussion about returning to the moon because it resurfaces the problems NASA has created for itself by failing to retain critical knowledge about how to get to the moon. Even though we have landed astronauts there 6 times, everyone involved with this project knows we couldn't go to the moon today if we had to. We have lost most of the knowledge from those Apollo missions. Are you losing knowledge in your organization that you will seriously regret in the future?
|Closing the Skills Gap Involves Matching the Right Person to the Right Job ChiefExecutive.net | Chief Executive magazine|
|A great way to help resolve the skills gap challenge at your organization is to map each employee to the best job for them and for the company, and to provide training and reskilling to help employees improve their productivity and their value to the firm.|
One company that has made this a strategic priority is IT and networking firm Cisco. Since 100% of Cisco’s manufacturing is outsourced, the firm needed a way to ensure it could find the highly skilled workers it needed throughout its supply chain. Cisco first sought to understand the workforce it had, and then came up with a plan to retrain or reskill anyone who needed to improve their fit with the company. Cisco examined their physical footprints and partner network locations, among other things, to ensure that the right people with the right skill level were in the right jobs.
Chief Executive spoke with Lori Osterback-Boettner, Cisco’s senior director of Global Business Operations, about how the process is working. [More]
Interesting description of what Cisco has done to avoid critical skill shortages in its supply chain.
|Are You Ready for the Talent Crunch? | Stanford Graduate School of Business|
|Hiring isn’t easy. Employers might get hundreds — sometimes thousands — of resumes for a single open position and still, somehow, hire the wrong person. Companies working in emerging fields like artificial intelligence or robotics have far more job openings than talented people to fill them. There’s been a shortage of software engineers and health care workers for more than a decade.|
As America’s aging population of Baby Boomers exits the workforce and is replaced by automation software, the country will likely see a shift toward more health care and social assistance-related jobs over the next eight years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. Of the 15 fastest-growing jobs in America, eight require an associate’s degree or less, and most are in a health care-related field.
Companies that take the long view prepare for their future hiring needs by investing in workforce development programs, which help develop a pipeline of talent that the company can tap into. [More]
Some interesting insights from a veteran workforce development expert. What works and what doesn't? How do we need to be thinking differently about workforce development? How is technology changing the nature of jobs? All questions she addresses.
|Wisconsin businesses grapple with a growing worker shortage | Madison Wisconsin Business News | host.madison.com|
|A Pulaski yacht manufacturer that cut 1,000 positions during the Great Recession now strains to fill 70 openings.|
In Neenah, a business consulting company replaces print shop workers with tech-savvy programmers, some of them working remotely in other states.
At a Lancaster dairy farm a robot milks the cows 24 hours a day.
A Madison restaurant has raised pay for entry-level chefs in recent years more than 50 percent to $14 an hour, but still closes on Sunday evenings — not because of a lack of customers, but because workers are scarce.
Those and countless other stories across Wisconsin are symptoms of a growing worker shortage that is expected to worsen over the next decade, according to Wisconsin State Journal interviews with dozens of employers, economists, advocacy group experts and state political and economic development officials.
"We are right at the brink of the crisis," said Ann Franz, director of the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance in Green Bay. "There just aren't enough human beings in Wisconsin with baby boomers retiring. Just driving down the road there are constantly signs hiring. I've seen them on billboards: 'Come to our car dealership and buy our car. Come so we can give you a job.'"
This article describes the challenges many low margin businesses face today in recruiting and retaining a viable workforce. It is a good description of what is going to be facing many states in the next few years. And there are no simple answers.
|How to Build a Next Generation Leadership Team|
|The best leadership teams contain a healthy dose of in-house talent, where leaders have developed institutional knowledge that only comes from rising up within the company.|
The obvious challenge for teams that depend on promoting from within is that they have to be good at developing leaders. Failure to do so means either promoting weak managers or being left with no choice but to hire from the outside.
All CEOs will tell you that part of their job is to guide the way for the next quarter century. With that in mind, any long-term strategy that doesn't include a healthy investment in the next generation of leaders in the business is missing a key ingredient. Here are four keys to building a winning leadership development initiative. [More]
Almost every organization is worried about where their next generation of leaders are going to come from. This article has from useful tips for starting to develop your own leadership talent inside the organization.
|States Fight to Fill the Middle-Skills Jobs Gap and Survive in the Digital Economy | Best States | US News|
|When 43-year-old Lori Faith was granted probation in 2012 after serving only eight months of her eight-year prison sentence for drug trafficking, her stint outside prison didn't last for long.|
A little over a year after her release, Faith was sentenced to 10 more years in a Kentucky prison for trafficking methamphetamine. Though she says there is no excuse for her behavior, Faith attributes her return to criminal activity to her inability to find employment with a criminal record.
The drug deal that landed her back in a cell was for $50 "to put minutes on my phone and gas in my car," she says, adding that she needed a working phone in case she got a call from one of the 10 job applications she was submitting each day.
Ironically, Faith found a factory job after she sold the drug to a confidential informant but before her arrest and return to prison, which didn't occur until months later. The position didn't require a background check, and she lied about her felonies.
The next time she re-enters society, Faith hopes she won't face the same unemployment and financial issues thanks to her participation in a new Kentucky initiative called Justice to Journeyman [More]
Interesting article on how Kentucky is training inmates for a future in skilled trades.
|Millennials don’t switch jobs any more than Gen Xers did | Pew Research Center|
|Millennial workers are just as likely to stick with their employers as their older counterparts in Generation X were when they were young adults.|
Here are some facts that should surprise you about Millennial job hopping. If this is true, why are managers so upset about the "lack of loyalty" among younger workers?
|Maybe We’ve Been Thinking About the Productivity Slump All Wrong - The New York Times|
|American businesses are doing a terrible job at making their workers more productive.|
Productivity growth is the weakest it has been since the early 1980s — only 0.8 percent a year over the last half a decade, compared with 2.3 percent on average from 1947 to 2007. This is the root cause of slow growth in both G.D.P. and worker pay.
At least, that is the standard way of thinking about productivity and its relationship to the economy. In a mainstream view, productivity is a kind of magic force that helps explain rising output. New labor-saving inventions come along or new management practices are taken up that miraculously allow companies to produce more output with fewer hours of work.
You can’t really predict when and how those innovations will arrive, in this view. Henry Ford starts using a moving assembly line. Sam Walton perfects the just-in-time supply chain. Easy-to-use word processors result in fewer businesspeople who need secretaries. Voilà, the productive capacity of the nation rises, along with incomes and living standards.
But what if this is the wrong way of thinking about it? What if productivity growth is not so much an external force that proceeds in random fits and starts, but is rather deeply intertwined with the overall state of the economy and labor market?
It’s a chicken or egg problem: Does low productivity cause slow growth, or does slow growth cause low productivity? [More]
Here's an article definitely worth paying attention to.
|The Universe Doesn’t Care About Your ‘Purpose’ - The New York Times|
|Keys in hand, I took a deep breath. I flipped the ignition and the memories of my Papa rushed back, just as the familiar rumble of his Thunderbird kicked in.|
After a series of painful events in late 2016, I struggled to understand how almost everything around me went wrong so suddenly. If anything, I felt aimless. That is, until the moment I inherited my grandfather’s 1972 Ford Thunderbird. Immediately, it reminded me of the best memories of him — birthday fishing trips, playing with his model trains, learning to make animal balloons (he was a Shriner clown), and my brother and I lounging in his hammock by the shore of Lake Murray, S.C. Kitschy as it sounds, restoring his T-Bird gave me a new sense of purpose.
Purpose is a universal human need. Without it, we feel bereft of meaning and happiness.
A recent ethnographic study draws a strong correlation between purposefulness and happiness. Purpose seems beneficial to overcoming substance abuse, healing from tragedy and loss, and achieving economic success. Businesses and organizations champion goals as ways to unify employees and customers under the banners of brand strategy, community, and well-being. America, in fact, is founded on the idea of purpose: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. One election cycle after another, Americans rally around candidates personifying deeply rooted ideals of what our country is supposed to be.
But, where does purpose come from? What is it? For over two millenniums, discerning our purpose in the universe has been a primary task of philosophers. [More]
A thoughtful piece about why purpose is so important to a meaningful life, always an important topic to consider.
|On Campus, Failure Is on the Syllabus - The New York Times|
|NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — Last year, during fall orientation at Smith College, and then again recently at final-exam time, students who wandered into the campus hub were faced with an unfamiliar situation: the worst failures of their peers projected onto a large screen.|
“I failed my first college writing exam,” one student revealed.
“I came out to my mom, and she asked, ‘Is this until graduation?’” another said.
The faculty, too, contributed stories of screwing up.
“I failed out of college,” a popular English professor wrote. “Sophomore year. Flat-out, whole semester of F’s on the transcript, bombed out, washed out, flunked out.” [More]
This article is an excellent reminder that a lot of the college experience and the job search process afterwards is learning to rebound from failure and rejection. Increasingly, top schools are making an effort to teach students how to fail -- and that it is part of life.Those who succeed long term learn how to bounce back when things don't go their way. These are critical lessons to remember when you start the job search process. You are likely to receive more rejections that you ever have in your life. Learning to deal with that -- crying a little, then laughing and moving on -- is going to be a key skill for surviving in today's job market and tomorrow's workplace.
|COLUMN-Age discrimination persists 50 years after anti-bias law’s passage|
|CHICAGO, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Imagine a time when employers hung out a sign that effectively told job seekers, “People over 55 need not apply.”|
That was the U.S. job market in the 1960s, when more than half of private-sector job openings explicitly barred older applicants, and one quarter even refused to look at applicants over age 45, according to a 1964 U.S. Department of Labor report. At the same time, employers were free to forcibly retire older employers based on age.
Those practices became illegal 50 years ago, when the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 was signed into law. The law was part of a broad wave of civil rights legislation that included the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Great progress has been made since that time, thanks to the ADEA and changing attitudes about age. That is reflected in the national employment statistics: in July, 3.2 percent of workers over age 55 were jobless, compared with the overall national unemployment rate of 4.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
But 50 years after passage of the ADEA, the picture on age discrimination is mixed.
The 55-plus figure paints an overly rosy picture of joblessness among older workers, since it does not reflect discouraged workers who lost jobs during the Great Recession and subsequently gave up looking for work. The real unemployment figure is more than twice as high, according to research by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) at the New School (reut.rs/2cj4mA6).
And a 2009 Supreme Court ruling imposed a higher legal hurdle for winning discrimination cases, finding that plaintiffs must prove that age was the most important reason for dismissal or demotion. And the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) - the federal agency that administers and enforces the ADEA - needs to toughen up its enforcement of the law to better protect workers, argues Laurie A. McCann, a senior attorney for AARP Foundation Litigation. [More]
I'm quoted in this article, which reflects the complexities of age discrimination and work opportunities for aging job seekers. It really does depend on the type of job, the skill sets involved, how fast relevant technologies are changing, and how individual job seekers present themselves. All these factors play into the perceived value of older workers. It may not seem fair, but it is how the market works.
|New Global Survey Underscores 'Corporate Amnesia' Epidemic - New York Times|
|With the current shift toward more flexible and freelance work environments and a 23 percent global employee turnover rate, businesses are more susceptible than ever to "corporate amnesia." This affects organizations when information, knowledge and content is misplaced or lost due to the departure of employees, data overload and an increasingly distributed workforce. The spread of corporate amnesia was measured by a new Jive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: JIVE) global survey, which found that 47 percent of "global knowledge workers," defined as employed adults who use a computer or mobile device for at least some of their work, cite corporate amnesia as a problem at their company. Meanwhile, more than half of German knowledge workers (54 percent) say corporate amnesia is a problem at their company, followed by workers in the UK (47 percent), France (44 percent) and the U.S. (42 percent). [More]|
Here is an example of another software vendor trying to take advantage of the real challenges in retaining knowledge. I am not sure how successful the solution is, but this article points to some specific areas where knowledge is lost frequently due to the use of newer technologies. This is another frame on the "skills gap".
|Fighting the silent crisis of physician burnout|
|I’m a physician and the son of a physician. I went into medicine because I wanted to help people get better and stay well. Somehow along the way, I got worse. Five years ago, I hit a wall, and admitted to myself that I was burned out.|
My joy of practicing medicine had faded. I was overloaded with countless hospital initiatives and committees. I felt like I was letting down my patients, my colleagues, and my family. My most important relationships and my own sense of health and well-being were eroding. In my mind, I had become a victim of the machine of medicine, putting myself and the people in my personal life at the end of the line.
Despite this, I never entertained the idea of quitting. That is part of the dilemma of physician burnout. By and large, you don’t make it through the gauntlet that is medical training by adopting a mindset of quitting. Unfortunately, many physicians check out without leaving the profession, which jeopardizes quality, safety, and the patient experience. [More]
Here is another article on physician burnout and the costs it can impose. What is useful about this piece, however, is that it describes an attempt by one health system to intervene with a solution. The idea of using executive coaching and leadership development programs is another creative way of helping mid-career professionals in demanding, high stress jobs find balance in their lives. We have created so many roles for highly-skilled professionals that are extremely expensive and difficult to replace that society must pay more attention to how we make these careers sustainable, so we don't lose essential capabilities too soon.
|Lack of Workers, Not Work, Weighs on the Nation’s Economy - The New York Times|
|SALT LAKE CITY — Stephanie Pappas and her brothers built their roofing supply company in this fast-growing region by promising next-day delivery, but lately they’ve been forced to tell some customers that tomorrow is impossible.|
Their company, Roofers Supply, employs 28 drivers across Utah, and Ms. Pappas said she would need at least 15 more to meet the exploding demand for shingles and tiles. The company has raised its starting wage by 10 percent since the beginning of the year to $17.50 an hour, but it’s not enough.
“We never want to have to say, ‘We can’t do it,’ but we need people,” Ms. Pappas said.
After eight years of steady growth, the main economic concern in Utah and a growing number of other states is no longer a lack of jobs, but a lack of workers. The unemployment rate here fell to 3.1 percent in March, among the lowest figures in the nation. Nearly a third of the 388 metropolitan areas tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics have an unemployment rate below 4 percent, well below the level that economists consider “full employment,” the normal churn of people quitting to find new jobs. The rate in some cities, like Ames, Iowa, and Boulder, Colo., is even lower, at 2 percent. [More]
Could Utah's experience of a worker shortage be a harbinger of things to come for other parts of the country. One thing this article highlights is the particular problems this creates for low wage industries like farming. This is another frame on the "skills gap" and speaks to the regional nature of the problem. How is your state similar or different?
|In 'Drop Out Club,' desperate doctors counsel each other on quitting|
|urned out cardiac surgeon seeks opportunities or empathy,” one message reads. “I feel stuck,” another confides. A third says simply, “I don’t want to be a doctor anymore!”|
The posts come in from across the globe, each generating its own thread of commiseration and advice. “I just wanted to reach out and let you know I feel your pain,” a doctor-turned-MBA replies to one surgeon. “Your story is so similar to mine,” a respondent marvels to a fellow trainee. “Before you quit, think about what motivated you in the first place, and what changed,” cautions an emergency physician to an early-career doctor.
This networking site, and others like it, is where doctors come to discuss the verboten: leaving the medical profession. There are posts from medical school students questioning their career path, and from trainees unable to find a full-time job. And predominantly there are posts by physicians who, after years in the field, are desperate, at the end of their rope, looking for a way out.
Some of them are suffering from what doctors know simply by the shorthand of burnout — loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment. Burnout is on the rise among doctors: One study found that over half of all US physicians are experiencing it, for reasons such as long work hours and an increasing burden of bureaucratic tasks. With no nationally available, peer-reviewed data on physician turnover, it’s not clear precisely how many doctors leave because of burnout.
But more than most, doctors may find a career change daunting. There’s the time invested — four years of medical school and as many as nine more years of specialty training — and perhaps a lucrative salary that’s hard to leave behind. Doctors’ specialized skills may seem less obviously transferrable to another field. And the perceived virtuousness of a career in medicine may make some feel guilty to consider leaving. [More]
This article describes a troubling trend in a profession where there is already a significant skills shortage -- physicians. While it is hard to feel empathetic for people making a comfortable six-figure income, the reality is demographic trends dictate that we will need more and more doctors as the population ages. But, like a lot of jobs today, many physicians find the demands of their professions outweigh the rewards. This is another field that needs attention to retention and how the healthcare sector can better structure physicians' roles to create a more satisfying work environment. (Of course, this is true for other roles in healthcare, too, such as nurses and allied health professionals.) Retention of good employees is critical.
|The Myth of the Skills Gap - MIT Technology Review|
|he contention that America’s workers lack the skills employers demand is an article of faith among analysts, politicians, and pundits of every stripe, from conservative tax cutters to liberal advocates of job training. Technology enthusiasts and entrepreneurs are among the loudest voices declaiming this conventional wisdom (see “The Hunt for Qualified Workers”).|
Two recent developments have heightened debate over the idea of a “skills gap”: an unemployment rate below 5 percent, and the growing fear that automation will render less-skilled workers permanently unemployable.
Proponents of the idea tell an intuitively appealing story: information technology has hit American firms like a whirlwind, intensifying demand for technical skills and leaving unprepared American workers in the dust. The mismatch between high employer requirements and low employee skills leads to bad outcomes such as high unemployment and slow economic growth. [More]
|Demo Memo: Educational Attainment of American Workers|
|Among the 161 million Americans with earnings in 2015, more than one-third had a bachelor's degree or more education...|
Educational attainment of people aged 18 or older with earnings, 2015
8.2% do not have a high school diploma
26.3% have a high school diploma only
29.8% have some college or an associate's degree
22.6% have a bachelor's degree only
13.2% have an advanced degree
Next time you are wondering how many American workers have a college degree, here are the numbers. A vast majority do not and these people need training for a rapidly evolving workplace.
|The Dumb Politics of Elite Condescension - The New York Times|
|To win in 2018 and especially 2020, Democrats need more identity politics — not less. They must address the widespread working-class revolt against global elites. Doing so is a pressing issue because in four years the Electoral College will again give outsize power to the working-class whites in Rust Belt states who delivered the last election to Mr. Trump.|
Democrats have taken to the streets to reaffirm our existing alliances and raise our morale. That’s important, and of course it is not only the white working class that is in revolt. But we also need to listen to the concerns of working-class whites specifically, for reasons that are both strategic and ethical.
Strategic first. If Mr. Trump wins the next election, that will guarantee Republicans long-term control of the Supreme Court — not to mention the continuing negative impact on immigrants, minorities, L.G.B.T.Q. people, women and the poor, all of whom are taking a hiding under Mr. Trump. [More]
I might be revealing my politic bias here, but I collect articles by smart people who are thinking strategically about how to minimize the damage President Trump is doing to long term workforce development in this country. So many of the administration's policies ignore the "big picture" forces that are changing the nature of work and the skills needed by companies and the country to support future growth. (For example, the idea of preserving jobs in the coal industry is painfully unproductive for many reasons.) But this article focuses on one thing the Democrats continually ignore, which is the economic pain being felt by underemployed white workers, particularly in the "Rust Belt". The author suggests the only way Democrats will regain the upper hand is by addressing the specific training and skill development needs of the 60% of young Americans who are not attending college. Helping lower middle class and middle class folks succeed in a technology-driven economy without an expensive college education is g
|Four Ways To Satisfy (And Retain) Millennial Employees | HuffPost|
|There are millions of fresh college grads burning the midnight oil in the workplace, giving 110% of their energy and effort to their employers…yet most of them are barely bringing home enough income to survive.|
Why do so many companies let their new talent burn themselves out? Why don’t they provide adequate compensation – at least enough for them to pay their rent and their student loans in the same month?
They do it because they can.
Millennials are hungry to put their degrees to work, even if it means living with mom and dad. Employers capitalize on that desperation, knowing that as soon as one worker tires out, there will be more kids spilling out of colleges, ready to give 100% even if they’re getting almost no compensation in return.
Considering the fact that 47% of millennials spend half of each paycheck on student loan payments, the never-ending stream of willing – and debt-ridden – workers is not surprising. If that isn’t convincing enough, consider a recent (albeit unconventional) study, which found that 30% of millennials would sell an organ to pay off their student loans!
These companies may think they’re getting a “deal” when they find these debt-ridden workhorses, but they probably won’t stick around for long: 60% of millennials leave their jobs within three years. Making matters worse, it costs companies between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace each departing millennial.
Moving forward, what should companies do in order to keep their talent? [More]
Managers today are always looking for ideas on how to retain millennials. One place to start is to have an honest conversation about expectations around vacation time. This is a natural place of tension between generations and the sooner it is sorted out the better.
|This is How Severe Boomers Have Made Company Brain Drain | Inc.com|
|The term "brain drain" was first used to describe the movement of scientists and technologists to America from postwar Europe. Because today the chances of US talent emigrating to other countries is low, brain drain is now more commonly used in reference to Baby Boomers retiring without transferring their knowledge or expertise to successors. In other words, brain drain is the result of not having a succession plan.|
In 2011, the first Baby Boomers turned sixty-five years old. Over the next nineteen years, ten thousand Baby Boomers will turn sixty-five each day. In 2029, all Baby Boomers will be sixty-five years old and over. Of employers at Fortune 1000 companies, 62 percent believe that future retirements will result in skilled-labor shortages over the next five years.
Companies will be facing the reality of brain drain in the coming years (if not already) with increased intensity. Having a succession plan, a process for identifying and developing new leaders who can replace previous leaders, is essential. [More]
This article has some new numbers showing how unprepared most organizations are for Boomer retirements. It makes the case for why retention of millennials will become such a big deal.