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Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Coming Talent Shortage

In response to the YouTube video about demographic changes, Michael Moore (the lawyer, not the other Michael Moore) posted a link to this video about the upcoming labor shortage.

I thought it was very good and should be seen, but I wasn't planning to blog about it, until my brother sent me this video

Is this who we're going to be hiring in a few years? Yikes. Please, those of you who are in your sixties, don't retire. Looks like we're really, really, really going to need you.


Patrick Williams said...

Wow - Evil scores a two-fer! The first video should be a required watch for every business leader. Too bad that if they haven't gotten the point by now, they are almost out of the game. Second point, I could swear that one of my managers tried to hire the contestant in video #2 for product engineering role!! So much for managers getting the talent equation!

damocles said...

My brain almost melted, being unequal to the task of parsing Miss SC's response.

Evil HR Lady said...

I had a very difficult time watching the whole thing. It was painful.

I like how you can tell the host is having a hard time not laughing.

RJ said...

Interesting stuff, but may I rant a little?

I got slightly irritated by a couple of elements in the Perfect Storm video which are gimmicky and go for meaningless use of statistics.

For instance - 7198 people turn 60 every day. Informative. Fine. 330 every hour: meaningless statistic. People don't celebrate their "birthday hour". It doesn't add anything other than pseudo gravitas. I look forward to the Simpson's spoof using exactly that tactic.

"The number of walkers will outnumber strollers" Oh really? Everyone 50 or 80 plus will be using a stroller?
I see he's marketing a book, and found a hook to snag the sqawkback radio crowd.

Here endeth the rant.

But Thanks Evil HR Lady, it's worth passing on.

Evil HR Lady said...

RJ--I agree, there are some meaningless things in there. And I would like justification for the only 20% of the population will be qualified to do 80% of the jobs.

He's making some pretty big assumptions--first one being that education, training, etc, are going to be static while the jobs change. Unlikely.

Additionally, his statistic about x number of people (can't remember) will need retraining to continue to do their current job. Well, duh. It's not like that hasn't always been the case. New laws, new procedures, etc, that's par for the course.

Anonymous said...

Can you seriously be that mean? This is a 17 year old kid on national television who has probably never had a public speaking class or the years of experience that the people making fun of her do.

I remember fumbling REALLY badly my first couple of public speaking tasks. I remember how my friends and I used to talk as teenagers. She is just inexperienced.

Watch her face and listen to the crackling voice. I think she is really nervous and trying to think on her feet.

I'll bet she got 'coached' about world issues, probably overwhelmed with tons of useless facts and just couldn't string her thoughts together.

I just hope that someone sits down with her, explains what to do right next time and that she has the personal courage to speak in public again.


Evil HR Lady said...


This is not someone Jay Leno grabbed for a jay walking sketch. This is someone who has practiced and trained for this for a long time.

I don't know how many pageants she has been in, but at least 3 (local, state, national). Most girls who make it to a national level pageant have numerous pageants behind her.

So yes, she's had public speaking experience. She's been drilled by coaches for at least a year. A question about education should have been expected. She should have been prepared with a stock "education" answer.

Yes, she was embarrassed, but this is what you sign up for when you enter a pageant.

Michael Moore said...

As a fellow blonde, I have to support Ms. SC. That was obviously a trick question. If you don't have a map, you don't know where you are. If you don't know where you are, then how can you know where anyone else is? At least she was able to find her way to the pageant. She probably used MapQuest.

Harkening back to your post on "What's in a Wrapper, er, Title", I am sure if she were an intern, her comments would have been taken quite seriously (at least by the Clinton Administration). In fact, I bet her "ideas" are under serious consideration by some government agency as we speak. Maps for everyone!!!

As for the demographics, the juxtaposition of these two videos may say it all.

Wally Bock said...

The video of Miss Teen South Carolina was painful to watch, but I found myself getting angry at the "Perfect Storm" video. The giant Baby Boom generation approaching the age of "traditional" retirement is a significant issue, but it and we are not well-served by that kind of "the sky is falling" hysteria.

Statements are presented as facts without any support or sourcing. The underlying assumptions are that 1) human life as we know it is doomed (unless we read the author's book) and 2) no one is doing anything to deal with the issue of impending Boomer retirements and 3) the only solutions have something to do with recruiting as many of the pool of "talented" young people as you can before some other company lures them away with a perk like free massages.

We are not doomed. We're going to adapt the way we do business, just like we always have. That won't take some sudden, monster effort because boomers are going to hit the "retirement" years over a generational time span of about 15 to 20 years.

Lots of companies are already planning for the impact of Boomers leaving. Some of them, like the TVA, have been working on the issue for over ten years. We already have some good models to follow.

Those models include recruiting changes, of course, but the best efforts will go after talented people who fit the organization's needs and forego the hunt for people who are merely bright. We will also use business process changes and technology to help us retain knowledge when folks head for the door. Expect to see more focused knowledge management and social networking applications. We will also adapt retirement plans, and work rules to keep people who choose to continue working, without being penalized by their retirement plan.

Evil HR Lady said...


The same things annoy me. I really should have given it a better dissection.

RJ said...

Here is more on Lauren Caitlin Upton.

For those who appreciate irony, note that the website sub title "where beauty meets ability"

Miss Teen South Carolina website

iwolfe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
iwolfe said...

Evil HR lady, RJ, Wally and others

Time to weigh in since I'm partially responsible for the comments. In one sense, I'm pleased by the challenges to The Perfect Labor Storm - at least it has generated discussion. On the other, it's disheartening to hear that we've been through this before and all will just work out.

So let me address just a few points in the post....but I'd be happy to continue the dialogue down the read:

1. I'll admit some shameless plugging of my book in the video and the other dozen or so like that. But you won't find any magical wizard behind the curtain even if you read the book. The intent of my book is just a wake-up call that "workforce trends will change the way you do business." Too many business owners, educators and politicians are just pointing fingers for the others to "fix" the problem.

2. One reason this won't happen is because 7918 boomers are turning 60 every day and are living an entire lifetime "after they retire" compared to the entire life span of our ancestors just 100 years ago. Our entire social and economic infrastructure was set up for people to work until 60-ish then die. There is no precedence for this aging bubble in all modern history.

3. Nearly every stat,trend or fact used was pulled from studies and research. I didn't make these up for my book. Admittedly I didn't critique all the sources but again - my intent was to put the information out there to generate discussion and more importantly serve as a catalyst for change.

4. I do disagree with your disagreement about retraining. I point everyone to 3 commission reports (and if you want more, I'm happy to oblige). Tough Choices, Tough Times; Are they Really Ready To Work: 2005 Skills Gap Report from National Association of Manufacturers. You can Google these or just should me an email and I'll forward pdfs. The U.S. has a 34% high school drop-out rate. A 50% functional illiteracy rate. Retraining isn't the problem - our work preparedness is atrocious and entitlement attitude of many (but not all) 50+ workers is atrocious. Just look around the Rust Belt -what $30 and $40 an hour jobs are these laid-off workers prepared for?

5. The biggest challenge we face is that we have a workforce challenged by a lack of the skills and knowledge so that our country can continue to grow by outpacing others in productitivity. We lack enough workers with the skills and knowledge to work at a faster pace and solving more complex problems.

6. And before I get off tonite's soap box.....we've got a serious health issue in this country. I'm not talking about the "other Michael Moore's uninsured problem" but obesity and all its related conditions. As one report today said, we used to be the tallest and thinnest nation. We're now the shortest and fattest.

So while I'm the first to agree that not a single one of the trends, facts or stats I mention will cause the earth to slip off its axis and ignite the apocalypse, combined it does create a compelling scenario. Thus....the Perfect Labor Storm.

Thanks again for all your comments and to you Evil HR Lady for posting the video.

For those interested, a video focusing on skills/education can be viewed at:

Miss Teen Utah said...



Mr. Dad Of A Teen Utah said...

[irony] I blame the schools...[/irony]