7 Ways to Prepare for the Global Labor Shortage

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According to a report from Boston Consulting Group, most countries will face labor shortages by 2030. You can get ahead of the crowd by adopting these seven tactics to prepare your workforce for the global labor shortage now:

1. Educate Yourself 

Many leaders and managers have very little understanding of the crisis ahead. In fact, some aren’t even aware of it at all. Do some reading on key concepts like the war for talent, the aging workforce, the skills gap, and the inevitability of global competition.

Your reading should scare you – that’s a good thing. Use that fear to inspire you to become a talent expert before your competitors do.

2. Calculate Business Impacts

Work with your CFO to calculate the business impacts numerous position vacancies, low skill levels among new hires, and lowered productivity resulting from the aging workforce, the skills gap, and the global competition for talent.

Some of the possible negative consequences of failing to have the right people in the right jobs include goods not being shipped on time, low product quality, lower customer service ratings, projects falling behind, loss of existing or future customers, and even an image of instability or the rumor of your organization going out of business.

3. Integrate Recruiting Into Your Business Processes

It’s important for managers to realize upfront that no one will be exempt from labor shortages. Furthermore, some industries will be hit especially hard in the upcoming war for talent. It’s critical that you integrate great recruiting and retention into every business, measurement, and reporting process.

4. Forecast Your Talent Needs

Develop a process for forecasting your talent needs. Work with budgeting, sales forecasting, and strategic planning to get some idea of where your business is going and what your talent needs will be in the next 18 months.

5. Prepare for Increased Turnover

dreamyAssume that your turnover rates will increase dramatically. Put someone in charge of retention tools and efforts, but make all managers accountable for turnover. Focus on the turnover rates of top performers.

If you are well known as an employer of choice, it is especially important that you prepare retention and “blocking” strategies to minimize the damage from competitors’ raids.

6. Identify Your Talent Competitors

Companies within commuting distance may compete with you for talent and non-product specific jobs – even if they aren’t competing with you for the same customers or in the same industry. In fact, your talent competitors are generally different from your product competitors.

No matter what, you have to know your enemies. Do a side-by-side comparison of the tools and approaches your competitors are using against your own tools and approaches. That will allow you to counter each threat.

7. Look Ahead

Monitor the indicators that tell you when competition for talent is increasing so that you won’t be surprised. These indicators include:

– changes in the unemployment rate;
– job growth rates;
– economic growth rates;
– low employee engagement scores;
– changes in the number of applications received;
– changes in the time-to-fill for your own jobs;
– and increasing numbers of vacancies and levels of turnover at talent competitors.

Major mergers, layoffs, and facility expansions should also be monitored as indicators of future changes in the talent picture.

If you pay attention to the signs and start preparing now, you’ll be in a much better place to weather the oncoming shortages when they hit – and they will.

Greg Ford, is the CEO and cofounder of TalentClickDr. John Sullivan is an author and HR strategist.

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Greg Ford is a workplace expert with 15+ years of experience and the CEO and cofounder of TalentClick. With a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in adult education and workplace learning, Greg has built the foundation of his business on empowering people with "safety self-awareness" so they modify their own behaviors in the workplace. His mission is to impact positive workplace decisions for all job types in all industries and regions around the world.

Dr. John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought leader from Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-impact strategic solutions for business. He is a prolific author with more than 900 articles and 10 books to his name. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at more than 250 organizations in 30 countries and on every continent. His ideas have appeared in every major business source, including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, USA Today, Harvard Business Review, and the Financial Times. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC Nightly News. Fast Company magazine called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring.” Sullivan formerly served as chief talent officer for Agilent Technologies, a spinoff of Hewlett Packard. He is currently a professor of management at San Francisco State and CEO of DJS consulting.