Huge Changes Are Happening In The Workforce

During the summer of my junior year in high school, I decided that I needed money to be able to go out and do the things that were important back then.  I was hired at Church’s Chicken for $2.10 an hour. Hey, it was 20 cents an hour more than I was offered at Pizza Inn and closer to home!  And, while that job taught me about being on time, developing a work ethic and working with other people, it also helped me decide that going to college was a better option.

The big discussion in business circles today is finding qualified talent to fill open positions.  The key word here is ‘qualified.” Many businesses in the Granbury/Hood County area have openings for a wide variety of positions, but there are few candidates to fill them.  According to a recent report from Emsi, “The Demographic Drought,” the United States is entering into an accelerated period called a ‘sansdemic’ (‘sans’ — without; ‘demic’ — people).

“In February 2020, before the COVID crisis, a record 70% of U.S. businesses reported a talent shortage according to a Manpower survey.”  And since that time, “2.4 million women left the workforce from February 2020 to February 2021.”  Adding to the challenge is the ongoing generational shift that is shaping the workforces of the future each and every day.  The year 2020 saw more than 3 million baby boomers retire! Gen-X, Millennials and Gen-Z workers are now dominating the workforce … but are there enough of them to replace these retirements?

The research community seems to think the answer is “no.” From the Emsi Report, “In early 2018, Korn Ferry predicted that by 2028 the U.S. can expect to see a deficit of 6 million workers.”  But, as we learned at the recent chamber seminar, “Wage Wars,” you can make an impact on your current staff now!

We heard multiple times during the program that company culture— not just pay and benefits—can be one of your best retention tools.  Employees, it seems, have a lot going in their favor right now, and they want to be valued.  “In a human capital economy, people are the key ingredient — a truth that will become only more apparent during the coming ‘sansdemic’.  Every student, every employee, every potential employee is valuable,” the Emsi Report concluded.

Here at home, factor in the growth of CTE programs at the high school level; workforce training programs at the community college level and a plethora of degreed programs at universities across the state, and we have an opportunity to create a highly trained workforce.

The Granbury Chamber of Commerce, together with Workforce Solutions North Central Texas, the Granbury ISD, Tarleton State University Small Business Development Center and multiple business partners like Forward Training Center, are working together to help identify, hire, train, build and retain the future workforce for our area.

From understanding what businesses need today to analyzing trends in the marketplace, we hope to help Granbury/Hood County businesses not only fill their current openings but also to look ahead and be able to anticipate future growth areas.

Written by Brian Bondy, IOM
Granbury Chamber President and CEO