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Changing Workforce Essay

Introduction:

It is no surprise that the workforce is on the move and changing at a growing rate. There are several factors that lead into the changing workforce and play important roles. There are the workers who are leaving, the ones who will be staying and the new ones who will be entering, all of which have an important role to play in the US economy. This topic is important but it seems to weigh a little more heavily during an election period like we are in now. When the unemployed rate is high and the national debt is at an unprecedented amount it makes me wonder, who will our job force consist of and how will it be changing? Some of the important things that need to be considered when looking into how the workforce is changing is who is now entering the workforce that was not previously in it? How will this affect competition for jobs? Are education levels affecting the workforce? Childcare and Eldercare seem to be playing an increasing role in who works and who stays at home to care for their families, will this change?

More minorities are also working in the US making a big change to the workforce, how does this play out with HRM and other parts of management? All of the questions and statements above need to be answered in order to find out why the workforce is changing and who comprises the majorities now. The workforce today is much more different than just 20 years ago. It is important as a human resource manager to stay up to date on these things and to know what the coming trends are for who you might be looking to employ. Significance of the topic to the field of Human Resource Management: The effects of the changing workforce on Human Resource managers are quite large. As of 2007 in healthcare there are older workers than younger ones.

The issues arise in HRM with this when the technology is changing and schools are teaching different things that the older generations are not as familiar with if at all. The changing of technology in any field is greatly affecting all parties involved. The issue of globalization and learning new policies and procedures of how to handle a workforce that is not in the same location you are is also something that is on the rise. The changing of the demographics as well as competition also plays a large role in why HRM is becoming such a fast paced changing job.

The biggest issue that the US sees in the trend of the workforce changing is the older workforce. With an aged employee base come issues with health cost, retirements, age discrimination and succession planning. All of these things have to be considered and taking very seriously in HRM. It is important to handle all the issues legally and just fully but with the things like increasing healthcare cost for the older generations things get tough for the managers and decision makers.

Literature Review:

The article Trends and Challenges for work in the 21st Century goes over a lot of points on the changing workforce and what is making it change. It includes things such as changing demographics and why they are changing, the issue of people having or choosing not to have children while in and out of the workforce as well as our aging workforce. It looks at things such as insurance and pensions and whether or not those have any effects on people choosing to stay in the workforce longer or shorter amounts of time. Lerman, R. (n.d.). Trends and challenges for work in the 21st century. Retrieved from http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/history/herman/reports/futurework/conference/trends/trendsVII.htm This article had figures from the women in the workforce.

It examined how many have children under 18 versus those who have children over 18 and are in the workforce. I think the goal of this study was to see how many females with younger children choose to stay at home rather than work. They also included a study of the race and sex of employees in the workforce and how it has changed. This article seemed to find that with the changes in technology, the adding of more women and more minorities to the workforce has made drastic changes and will continue to do so over the next decades. The article seems to lean on the side that people are choosing less or no children and that enables them to work more. However, having less or no children directly impacts the workforce for the coming generations. Nursing Leadership is a publication of where I found the second article I reviewed. Although it focuses on one career instead of the workforce as a whole it is very specific how the workforce change has affected the nursing and medical industries.

The change in technology seems to be the hardest adjustment for the ones who have been in the workforce the longest. Spinks, N. (n.d.). The changing workforce, workplace and nature of work. Retrieved from http://www.longwoods.com/content/19286 In this article Spinks talks about in 2010 that the older workforce will outweigh the younger ones. She talks about issues of predicting retirement, “Women’s retirement patterns are somewhat less predictable because we are only now beginning to experience large numbers of women in the paid labour force working until retirement”. (Spinks) Although the article is done about healthcare she makes a lot of good notations and observations about the workforce as a whole. In this article she lays out 7 strategies and solutions to help maintain a good strong workforce.

Spinks did a lot of her observations and studies in Canada. One section of the article talks about having a workforce shortage and I can assure you the US has not had this issue in the last few years. She found that the workforce in Canada is much like the population there, many are not from Canada but rather born somewhere else and migrated there or their ancestors came to Canada making the work population there very diverse. To me it seems Spinks found that technology and diversity in the nursing and healthcare industry are the biggest struggles when you start to think about the workforce changing. That although this study was done in Canada where their health system is a bit different from that of the US the overall concept of the workforce aging and changing is the same. In the article the workforce is changing the way we do business printed in the USA today magazine the author talks about the corporations being able to keep up and how to handle the changes. The author goes into some detail on how to keep a completive edge even when your employee base that you once knew is now completely different.

The author also talks about what to look for in the new employees that will be emerging, or what kind of people you should look to hire. Herman, R. E. (n.d.). The workforce is changing the way we do busines. Retrieved from http://www.retentionconnection.com/retention_article_workforce_changing.html This article explores the idea that its not just customers looking to be satisfied within a business but the workers are as well. Herman states that while there are people out there willing to do work there are not enough qualified for the skilled jobs, thus making the competitive advantage harder to achieve today. One idea that Herman explores to help with this problem or situation is to concentrate on building workforce stability. He explains it like this “Concentrate on building workforce stability. Forget the revolving door of recruiting and hiring any warm body. It doesn’t work and will just create more problems for you. Replacing people who leave will become more challenging. Evaluate the qualifications for your next hire(s), and become more selective.

If you’re going to invest in retention, you might as well have good people to retain.” (Herman) This article to me states there is indeed changes happening in the workforce but more importantly is how as a business we embrace the changes and hang on for what could be a rough time. It shows the importance of having skilled workers to help your company but at the same time there are not as many of them as there once was. Workforce planning makes for a smarter reduction in force is an article that seems to relate very well to the economic times the country has been and seems to be copiously enduring in regards to jobs and job demands.

The idea that businesses need to cut cost means they have to look at lowering their work force to save money. This takes a different approach then the normal how is the workface changing articles bur rather how are businesses changing the workforce. Garbis, N. (01, 2010 06). Workforce planning makes for a smarter reduction in force. Retrieved from http://www.humanresourcesiq.com/business-strategies/articles/workforce-planning-makes- This article goes over the idea that businesses in this time of the economy being hard and not being as profitable they sometimes offer the employee to take some sort of severance package and leave.

Garbis says you have the worse problem when to many leave, or you forecast incorrectly of how many of your workforce you need to eliminate. His studies show that having workforce planning in place can be very beneficial but it is something that needs to be re-visited often so that to many or to few employees are let go back out into the workforce when really they are needed. The article A Global March toward an aging workforce was written after a speech by an author of a man named Ted Fishman. Fishman looks at the ideas that the age range of the world population and those who are working now is not near the same as it was a decade or two ago.


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