Underused Talent: Retirees, Women and Youth Filling the Skill Gap

In a recently article by McKinsey “Help Wanted: The future of work in Advanced Economies” (March 2012), the author mentions 5 trends that are influencing employment levels. One of which is untapped talents; “Advanced economies have growing pools of underused talent: older workers, women, and youth”. This segment of the population, more specifically: Retirees, stay at home moms and university students can fill a much needed void in the economy. They can help companies reduce or fill skill gaps. The skill gap is significant. In fact, in 2011, when US unemployment exceeded 9 percent, an MGI survey found that 30 percent of US companies had positions open for more than six months that they could not fill. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2011 there were 5 million stay at home mothers/fathers. In the U.S. only, the older population, aged 65 years and more, numbered 40.3 million in 2010. This number is expected to double by the year 2040 to 80 million. And there are more than 20 million college aged students in the U.S. with some available time and desire to work. A significant majority of these labour force sources have refrained themselves from participating in the workforce because of their need for FLEXIBILITY.

Many women with the education and work experience decide to opt out of the workforce. The reasons vary : life choice, poor access to child care or tax disincentives. Often, they wish they could still participate in the workforce to help their family financially and continue to positively contribute to the development of the economy. Another untapped market are workers that have reached their retirement age but still have the ability and desire to offer their rich experience to companies and organizations. College students many with available time in the summer or between exams are in search of paying off their debts and the invaluable experience of being out in the workforce.

Until now it has been very difficult for these mothers, retired professionals and students to easily find flexible jobs. Companies are waking up to the many advantages of hiring temporary workers.

Today, thanks to telecommuting, technology and many different new sites dedicated to freelancers, hiring on a contract basis and finding short-term jobs is available to all.


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