Future Job Market

3 Challenges for the Future Job Market

T​here’s a lot of noise about the U.S. job market these days. “Experts” from every industry weigh in daily on TV, radio, and social media about worker shortages, wage issues, and whether we’re headed for a recession.

Major challenges lie ahead, but they don’t even make it into the conversation. Instead, we get talking points from decades ago and finger-pointing. I guess that’s easier than admitting you don’t know what’s going on because, unlike us, you’re not in the trenches.

We’ve identified three major challenges the U.S. job market faces over the coming decades. Our ability to thrive depends on how we tackle them.

The Great Demographic Shift

The Baby Boom drove a good deal of our late 20th Century economic growth. The surge in population both increased demand for products and services, while also creating the workers needed to provide them. That trend is coming to an end.

By 2030, all Baby Boomers will be 65+ and by 2034, older adults will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history. In other words, far more people are aging out of the workforce than aging into it.

This has been coming down the pipeline for some time, but Covid-inspired retirements pushed up the timetable. This uptick in retirements, along with a drop in workforce participation, created a shortfall we still haven’t recovered from.

A solution isn’t on the horizon. In fact, a steady decline in birth rates means the problem will only worsen. There may be ways to ease the pain (keep reading), but no potential fixes (yet) for the entire problem.

The Skills Gap

I​n a recent survey, 37% of all Gen Z said their schools didn’t give them the technical skills they need to succeed. We have both a shortage of people entering the job market, and insufficient programs for the ones we do have.

There’s also the problem of us not encouraging young people in the right direction. For example, only 18% of software engineers are female. Take it from someone recruiting in this space, there’s nothing about the work that should make it lean so heavily toward men.

Think of how many more positions we could fill by encouraging more girls to follow this career path. Yet, we’re not doing it.

We need to do better with the talent we already have. That means identifying where, and how, we’re falling short, so we can craft solutions. It’s both critical for our economy and doing right by our people.

Our Broken Immigration System

I​t’s rare to meet an American who states they don’t support immigration, yet it remains a controversial topic. The debate covers everything from border security, to H1B visas, “dreamers”, and a multitude of subtopics.

As we’ve discussed before, most Americans don’t know that since 1967, our immigration has primarily been restricted to:

  • Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens
  • Refugees (as defined by the Refugee Act of 1980)
  • Work-sponsored Green Cards for those with specialized skills

This leaves out a majority of those who would like to legally immigrate here. Even those who qualify for those programs must navigate an out-of-date process that can leave you in legal limbo for decades (just ask an Indian-American on an H1B visa).

A​ lot of the folks complaining about immigrants “not waiting their turn in line” don’t realize there was no line for them to wait in.

We can no longer afford a dysfunctional system established almost six decades ago, when the Baby Boom made us feel okay about reduced immigration. We need a process based on our current needs, that bolsters legal immigration.

This wouldn’t solve our demographic crisis, but it sure would help. Otherwise, we’ll head over the cliff a whole lot faster.

The solutions to stabilize our job market, along with the entire economy, need people from multiple specialties working together. It won’t ever happen if we can’t focus the actual challenges driving the crisis.

​Make sure to check out the HiringArc blog to keep up with the job market issues of today. While you’re at it, see what openings we have that will help you take your next career step!

Make HiringArc your job search hub! Backed by career experts, it features the best opportunities in multiple industries, for multiple skill sets. Check out our job postings to find the next step in your successful career.