In a world where true product and service advantage is fleeting and parity seems to be the rule, the real competitive difference-makers are those working in our organizations.
Leaders looking into the not-too-distant future understand that much of the real competition in the coming decade will be for a sufficient number of the right people to work in their organizations. Despite the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, unemployment rates near 8%, and baby boomers working longer, the old adage demography is destiny is already taking hold. According to a January 2012 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Overall population growth in the US is expected to slow to less than 1% in the current decade, down from 1.2% in the 1990s
- The growth rate of the workforce is expected to drop nearly in half, from 13.2% in the 1990s to 6.8% in the current decade
The situation with skilled labor is equally alarming for managers. According to a July 2012 report from the McKinsey Global Institute, globally by 2020 the surplus of low skilled workers will equal the shortage of medium-and-high skilled works – 95 million.
Faced with these projections, companies will need to find a way to hold on to, and better integrate, older workers while at the same time compete for skilled workers just to stay even.
How will you face these challenges for enough of the right people to maintain and improve your competitive advantage?