In our latest report, Workers Wanted, Worldwide: Strategies to Succeed in the Global Demographic Drought, we address the imminent shortage of talent employers are facing as populations age and growth slows down around the world, even outright shrinking in some places. Faced with falling immigration, declining fertility rates, and rapidly aging populations, companies across the globe are struggling to find workers. But while the playing field for talent is changing, there are strategies employers can use to stay in the game.
Each geography will fare differently as the global labor supply dwindles, but every company should continuously seek to broaden, build, and bind talent:
Employers should strive to broaden their talent pool.
Businesses need to build upon available talent.
Employers can bind employees by valuing the employees they have and creating an environment workers don’t want to leave.
Broaden: Expand talent pools or roles
There’s a lot employers can do to broaden their talent pool. Companies should consider what prevents missing workers from participating in the workforce. There are people who would work if the conditions were right or they were offered the opportunity. Just a few examples include people with disabilities, parents who don’t have access to childcare, individuals who’d prefer to work part-time, and those who feel underqualified.
The labor force participation rate of people with disabilities is one-third of those without, even though these individuals are often highly skilled, motivated to exceed expectations, and they display increased loyalty. Employers can also leverage government policies that encourage workers to join or remain in the workforce. For example, parental leave policies throughout Europe help mothers remain in the labor force, and policies in Singapore have raised the retirement age to lengthen working lives there. Filling roles with part-time employment by hiring retirees or students, and reaching discouraged workers by making job postings clear that they can grow into roles are additional broaden strategies.
Build: Upskill talent
By understanding the skills, tech readiness, and innovative capacity of the local workforce, employers can build upon the potential talent in their backyard. As Workers Wanted, Worldwide points out, different geographic regions will fare differently when it comes to the supply of workers, and this remains true for the skills and capabilities of these workforces.
But no matter the location, employers should always seek to invest in their employees. By breaking down roles by skills, companies can understand where to invest their resources to build a more well-rounded and future-ready workforce. As populations age, a build strategy should also include a long-term plan for skills transition, such as phased retirement mentoring that gives older workers an opportunity to train and mentor younger colleagues. Workers who feel supported and are offered opportunities to grow are more likely to stay.
Bind: Retain talent
The Great Resignation is not just happening in the US—it is a global phenomenon. One study found that one in five workers across 44 countries plans to quit their job in 2022. Workers don’t grow on trees, and employers looking to recruit often have slim pickings to choose from. Employers can bind employees by focusing on enhancing benefits, creating meaningful work, and accommodating cultural differences.
Flexibility in schedules and the opportunity to work remotely are becoming increasingly significant. Not only does remote work appeal to many workers, it also unlocks a diverse talent pool of candidates with skills, backgrounds, and perspectives often not found locally. Around the world, work-life balances vary greatly—companies in Australia and New Zealand typically have shorter work weeks, schedules in the Middle East accommodate religious practices, Swedish companies place high value on coffee breaks, and siestas are just part of the workday in Spain.
Our global workforce is more important than ever, and with the right strategies, employers can succeed.
We’ve highlighted just three strategies—broaden, build, and bind—to keep up with the global demographic drought. Workers Wanted, Worldwide dives deeper and suggests additional actions employers can take to drive global talent acquisition based on their location.