The events of 2020 have impacted the economy in ways that will probably take years to fathom fully. One area where the change is already being keenly felt is the job market. Newfound flexibility and high-demand is spurring huge change across the board.
Reuters, for instance, recently highlighted the “Great Resignation” among white-collar workers. Labor shortages are causing high-demand for skilled workers, resulting in better pay and benefits as well as more flexible scheduling. Many highly qualified and experienced employees are making the move of leaving their current positions to seek premium compensation elsewhere at unusually high levels.
It’s not just a matter of short-term labor shortages either. Changes in demographics point to more fundamental labor shortages in the longterm. As the Baby Boomers age out and retire, younger age cohorts simply do not have the same workforce participation rates. This, combined with declining a declining birthrate in the United States, means that there is a shrinking pool of talent from which companies can hire.
While this does mean that companies are willing to pay premium for talent, there is a more negative side as well. Staffing shortages are in some regions hindering companies, especially small businesses from operating at capacity.
Major shifts in the job market are occurring locally as well. Over 64,000 people in St. Louis lost their jobs in 2020. And while most of these jobs have been recovered, many communities that were disproportionately impacted are still struggling. Local employers are eager to hire. According to an annual survey of regional businesses by St. Louis Community College, 63% of local businesses are looking to hire over the next year, and a majority of these for full-time positions as well.
A recent report shows that hiring is a major priority for Missouri businesses. 41% of small businesses in the state reported that hiring was their biggest need currently, while 22% said that staffing problems were hurting their ability to operate. Missouri ranked 7th highest in the nation for hiring need according to the report, which was conducted by online lending marketplace LendingTree.
Overall, the job market is experiencing a tectonic shift right now, with all of the opportunities and anxieties which that entails.