Where the heck are they? A look at workforce in 2023
In 2023, small towns, especially those in rural parts of America, are dealing with big problems related to their workforce. These problems are complex and affect these communities in many ways. Lightcast, a workforce research and analysis company, recently published a report called "Bridging the Gap in our Labor Force" This report is a follow up to their research on what they call the “Demographic Drought”. The updated report focuses on what we need to do to deal with the new normal.
The New Normal: Not Enough Workers
In their research, Lightcast simply states that we are facing a new normal: there aren't enough workers. This isn't just a temporary problem caused by the pandemic. It's a long-term issue that's been growing for years. It's due to things like low birth rates, older people retiring, and fewer immigrants coming to the country. The pandemic just made these problems worse.
The lack of workers is a problem for the whole community, not just businesses. People are the most important part of a community. If students leave the area after they graduate, it makes the worker shortage eve
n worse. But if these students can see a clear path to a job in their local community, it can help lessen the impact of the worker shortage.
How Small Towns in Rural America are Affected
The worker shortage has a big impact on small towns in rural America. With so many job openings, workers have more choices. With more choices for available to the current workforce, employers are forced to create innovative ways to attract the talent that they need to be successful. The old adage about catching flies with honey seems to apply here.
Employers still need skills and talent that should be taught in local schools. If those skills aren't a part of the educational fabric of your community, jobs go unfilled. Worse yet, the talent that you have in your commu
nity can just pack up and leave forever. This shows why it's important for business leaders to work with schools. They can offer opportunities for students to learn while they work, advise on school programs, give tours of their facilities, give guest lectures, or even donate equipment specific to their industry. The next step in this process is to listen carefully to what the school and the talent is wanting. Times are changing rapidly, and employers need to be the source of better honey in order to catch the flies the they need to be successful.
To solve the workforce problems faced by small towns in 2023, we need creative and proactive solutions. This includes investing in a skilled and effective workforce, thinking differently about how we recruit workers, and understanding the role looking farther and wider when filling job openings. Everyone needs to work together on this: employers, schools, communities, and the talent themselves. Infinite Sequence Economics can
examine your workforce and talent situation and help you develop creative ways to improve the needs of your local employers.