Beyond the Great Resignation: A Data-Driven Approach to the Labor Shortage

On October 20th, HighPoint Associates kicked off our 20th Anniversary Speaker Series. During the lively discussion, HPA Founder & Managing Director Sumeet Goel hosted labor experts Dave Gilbertson, a senior executive at Human Capital Management software market leader UKG, and 20-year labor operations guru John Frehse, to get their insights on a subject that everyone seems to be talking about: the labor market.

If headlines are to be believed, there’s a massive labor shortage due to The Great Resignation, a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But despite news headlines, the jobs report, sound bites from government agencies, and opinions from a hefty number of economists, this isn’t the case. In fact, the data tells a very different story.

“Everything you think you know about The Great Resignation is wrong” and other top webinar takeaways:

There were so many data-based labor insights and busted myths packed into this hour-long conversation with Dave and John. For example:

  • Negative Engagement doesn’t (and shouldn’t) work. The burden is on leadership to create a positive, productive, inclusive, and fair work environment. This should be a given and yet…
  • The “warm bodies” approach to hiring is the death knell for a business. A company shouldn’t change its hiring criteria just to fill open roles.
  • It’s time to stop being angry about paying more for workers. Yes, wages increased this past year, but so did inflation…by a lot. So effectively, most people got a pay cut.
  • People may not be working for your business, but they’re working. It may feel like there’s a labor shortage, but in fact, we’re at an historically low unemployment rate.
  • When will be get back to pre-pandemic jobs numbers? In many industries, like manufacturing, we already are. Healthcare, which has taken a real hit, is another story. But the real news is (drum roll), we had a labor shortage long before COVID-19. The pandemic just set us back a bit more.
  • Job-hopping (people leaving one job to take another) is the number one issue impacting businesses. This is a very real and concerning trend that can be a result of poor management, not just wages.
  • Are retiring Baby Boomers to blame? Well, they explain a minority of the situation, but certainly not entirely. If lower job participation numbers need to be assigned to one group, it’s the 18 to 24-year-olds who are still living with a parent due to extremely high rents (along with other demographic trends).

If your business is struggling to find top-notch talent, you can access a recording of Beyond the Great Resignation: A Data-Driven Approach to the Labor Shortage for insights – backed up by the data – on what’s really happening with labor, and what employers can and should be doing to recruit and retain employees (hint: It’s not about pay!).

Need more help? HighPoint Associates teams have deep transformational, program management, and operational experience, and can work with your internal team to overcome barriers to realizing your hiring and retention goals. Contact us to discuss how we may be able to support you.