Staffing Central: Long-Term Labor Shortages and Shifting Workplace Norms

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Staying on top of the labor market and staffing industry can feel like a full-time job. To help you stay on top of the latest news, Aerotek curates the trends, stories and insights that are shaping our world at work.

Here are the headlines for May:

1. New report predicts severe labor shortages over the next 15 years
It’s not news that some industries have been struggling to find qualified candidates in recent months. But, a new report released in April by the global, independent business membership and research association, The Conference Board, spotlights these concerns. 

The report outlines a variety of reasons for the labor shortages including the retirement of the Baby Boomers, the decline in labor productivity, sluggish corporate revenue growth, high labor expenses and increasing quit rates. 

2. Healthcare and skilled trade labor expected to endure greatest shortages
Due to an aging population and increased access to healthcare created by the Affordable Care Act, healthcare workers will be in short supply over the next decade and a half according to The Conference Board. 

Occupational therapists, physical therapy assistants, nurses and home health aides will be in especially high demand. Additionally, says the report, as skilled trade laborers such as machinists, power plant operators, plant operators, railroad workers, and electricians retire, there won’t be enough new skilled laborers to replace them. 

3. U.S. job market slowed in April 
While shortages are a long-term concern, the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics actually point to slowing growth. The economy created 160,000 jobs last month, disappointing some financial observers and decreasing the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates in the near future. But it wasn’t all bad news. Though some major industries saw little or no change over the month, professional business services, healthcare and the financial industries added jobs in April.

The BLS also reports the unemployment rate remained at 5 percent while wages rose by 2.5 percent compared to 2015. 

4. Temp job market is strong 
While the cumulative job market may be slowing, when it comes to temp and contract jobs, the market remains strong and growing. A new study by CareerBuilder and EMSI found that between 2016 and 2018, employers plan to add 173,478 temp and contract jobs, a six percent increase over today’s temp job numbers. These job openings will be found in a variety of industries at all pay levels.

"Today, nearly 3 million people are employed in temporary jobs, and that number will continue to grow at a healthy pace over the next few years as companies strive to keep agile in the midst of changing market needs," said Kyle Braun, President of CareerBuilder's Staffing and Recruiting Group in a May 5 press release.

5. Shifting workplace norms
With the economy continuing to recover, many fathers who elected to stay home to care for children during the recession are going back to work, says The Wall Street Journal. As experts note, the transition is not always easy. 

“Some of our biases about gender roles are stubbornly persistent,” writes Whitney Johnson for The Harvard Business Review. “People think there must be something wrong with a man who leaves his career to rear his children; they wonder if he’s hiding something, or at least think there might be more to the story.” 

Recent studies hint that workplace attitudes toward men’s roles in childcare are shifting. A 2015 study by The Hartford found that “Millennial men (18-33) are leading the paternity leave trend, with 52 percent taking extended time off from work to help care for a baby, according to a national survey.” 

Attitudes towards working parents in general are evolving, with many organizations looking for links between effective parenting and successful workplace habits. A new CareerBuilder study found that 68 percent of employers surveyed said that they take parenting skills such as time management, patience, the ability to multitask, conflict management and problem solving into account when evaluating prospective job candidates. 

Want more Staffing Central? Check out the headlines from our previous post.