Checking in from sunny Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) – and what a day! After catching a beautiful sunset over the beautiful Philadelphia skyline, former president Bill Clinton concluded day number two with a fantastic speech to tens of thousands of DNC attendees. The former president talked about the person Hillary Clinton was, is, and will be – as the potential first female president in U.S. history. According to the former president, she would be a change-maker.
Earlier in the day, SHRM’s President and CEO, Hank Jackson participated on a dynamic Workforce in the New Economy: Third Way Panel with other business and education leaders from across the country. Jackson explained the significant workforce challenges that employers are experiencing at all skill levels. In order to address the gap, HR must be a change-maker in the organization to ensure employers have access to the talent needed to succeed in the 21st century workplace.
Jackson reported data from SHRM’s latest report on recruiting difficulty and skills shortages, The New Talent Landscape. According to the results, over two-thirds—or 68 percent—of HR professionals surveyed reporting having difficulty hiring talent this year. This number is only increasing. In 2013, 50 percent of those surveyed reporting hiring challenges. Employers, employees, and the economy at large, can no longer wait for solutions.
Alongside Jackson, Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon); Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer for Microsoft; Nneka Jenkins Thomas, Senior Manager Education Policy, New America; and, Tony West, Executive Vice President, PepsiCo also participated on the panel, discussing effective employer practices for addressing the skill shortage.
PepsiCo and Microsoft, like many other leading employers, talked about innovative partnerships and successful training academies developed to build the talent pipeline. SHRM applauded these employer-specific partnerships but noted that in order for employers to remain truly competitive, a comprehensive plan where partnerships can be scaled nationally in a way that benefits both employers and employees is needed. HR can be the change-maker in the organization by spearheading these partnerships and bringing nontraditional partners together in order to identify, train, and retain skilled employees.
In order to equip the HR profession, SHRM is calling for a new dialogue and recently unveiled Principles for a 21st Century Workplace. Public policy should encourage – not discourage - effective partnerships between employers and education and training providers. By developing partnerships that are demand-driven and focused on the employment and skill needs of employers, HR can be the change-maker to ensure the competitive workplace thrives.
Senior Advisor, Government Relations