Industries with the Biggest Labor Shortages
There are now more open jobs than candidates in nearly every industry in the U.S. To make matters worse, 10,000 baby boomers will reach retirement age every single day for the next ten years. On the last business day of March, the number of job openings was 7.5 million according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here are where the biggest ongoing labor shortages are, and how some companies are trying to deal with it:
Health Care and Social Assistance Job Openings: 1,146,000
As America ages, the healthcare sector is expected to do nothing but grow. Hospitals and nursing homes are struggling with shortages of trained doctors, nurses, home health care workers, as well as all of the support staff in the industry.
Proposed Solutions – Initiate a guest-worker visa program for in-home care aides, similar to the current H-2A program for the agriculture industry. Invest in technology and tools that make existing labor more effective.
Manufacturing Job Openings: 476,000
Manufacturing is impacted by the labor shortage as younger workers migrate toward professional services jobs and away from the factories and plants that create goods and products. Jobs in manufacturing have historically received a negative reputation among millennials because they think the industry does not provide fulfilling or well-paying careers. Other misperceptions include the idea that manufacturing itself is on a downward spiral because machines will eventually replace humans on the manufacturing floor.
Proposed Solutions – Automate the most dangerous and undesired jobs. Invest in internal employee training and development programs. Promote career paths and opportunities within the organization. Increase involvement with local schools and community colleges. Implement veteran hiring programs.
Construction Job Openings: 360,000
Construction contractors have been lamenting the skilled-labor shortage for years. More than 600,000 workers left the construction industry during the great recession and have not returned. The lack of skilled trades has resulted in increased costs and longer timelines for new projects, difficulties in meeting deadlines, and turning down projects due to lack of labor.
Proposed Solutions: Start College internship and apprenticeship programs to provide hands-on experience and exposure to careers in construction. Promote enrollment in technical schools and vocational training. Cultivate a better reputation for compensation, apprenticeship programs, and opportunities for advancement.
Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities Job Openings: 345,000
While the explosion of e-commerce makes shopping quick and easy for consumers, it also places increased demand on companies that fulfill and transport these products. Distribution and warehousing companies are stretched even more during seasonal peak periods. Due to shortages, long haul truck drivers have seen rapid wage growth in the past year.
Proposed Solutions – Providing child care assistance for employees working late shifts or overtime. Address work-life and family challenges for long-haul drivers, who often spend days or even weeks at a time on the road. Hire more ex-offenders.