The Talent Gap

I participated in two events over the last ten days which had a significant impact on me. The first event was a presentation given by Tom Stinson, Minnesota State Economist and Tom Gillaspy, Minnesota State Demographer at a Human Resources Executive Forum event. Their presentation focused on the fact that our workforce has aged and the number of workers turning 62 over the next three years will be significant. With the number of projected retirees and the slow down in labor force growth there will be a gap in talent available to fill open jobs. They reported that in 2008, Minnesota experienced a 30% increase in workers turning 62. Does that mean that 30% of the current jobs will be vacant over the next 3-5 years? Well not exactly. In some fields like retail, construction and manufacturing many of the jobs will not be replaced or have already been lost. Yet in fields of business, engineering and sciences there is projected growth as well as replacement jobs that will need to be filled. If there isn’t enough talent to fill the positions then will we all just have to work harder? I don’t think this is what workers have in mind.




A few days later I was standing in front of a group of 100 job seekers at 7:30 in the morning talking about ageism in the hiring process. Is it real? You bet. Can those 50 years and older manage this obstacle? Yes, by strongly communicating the skills they bring, the value they add, and demonstrating an ability to be continuous learners. These experienced workers are critical to the success of organizations in the future. Work teams that have representation from different generations can bring different perspectives to innovation and decision making. So if we know that there is this gap in people and talent to fill our jobs then why are employers so willing to dismiss these experienced workers?

Let It Drop

During a recent lunch with a colleague we had a discussion regarding how everyone’s plate is so full these days. We discussed how many workers are being asked to do more with less and it's just impossible to do it all. So how do you decide which tasks we will allow to fall off our plates or can be done in a less than 100% manner?

The Season of Graduations

I love this time of year both for its’ weather and for the graduation events that are occurring around us. Graduations are a time of reflection, celebration and anticipation. For many it’s also a time of angst. What next? What is to become of me? What do I tell Aunt Agnes when she asks what I’ll be doing next month, next year and in the future?

The Power of Influence

Have you ever noticed that there are people who can convince others that their ideas are terrific ones and others whose opinions get lost in the crowd? I was thinking about this recently in relation to a friend of mine who has an amazing ability to influence others. I mean really influence. On her 50th birthday she convinced eight of her closest women friends to go winter camping in March. She somehow convinced these naïve women that walking down a snowy path, pitching a tent and cooking dinner over a fire in 30 degree temperatures would be an adventure. None of us learned our lesson because this year when she turned 55 she once again convinced us to head to nature. This time we had a cabin but no running water.  In reflection it makes absolute sense why this friend has been so effective in influencing the rest of us. She’s prepared, clear, passionate and confident.


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