Where Have all of the Jobs Gone? | CareerAlley

Some people dream of success… while others wake up and work hard at it.“   – Author Unknown

Author Byline: Frank B. Leibold, PhD.
Author Website: www.CareerSuccessSkills.com

Increasingly newspaper headlines across America are asking this question.

In addition to cutting jobs due to the recession and to increase profitability, companies are looking overseas to save money in labor costs. According to Forrester Research, over the next fifteen years over three million US service industry jobs and up to $136 billion in wages will move overseas to countries including India, Russia, China and the Philippines. Forrester also notes that 88 percent of the firms said they got better value for their money overseas and 71 percent said overseas workers did better quality work.

A Deloitte Research survey reports that the world’s 100 largest financial-services companies expect to transfer about $356 billion of their operations and two million jobs offshore over the next five years. It’s not just technology jobs that are leaving the United States. Jobs in just about every sector are going abroad including mortgage processors, claims adjusters, financial analysts, telemarketers and a variety of other job titles.

I believe the US economy has ‘absorbed’ the current unemployment level through innovation, re-structuring and productivity gains. With 70 million baby-boomers yet to retire the workforce is at its peak to accomplish this. In my view these 15 million underemployed jobs are structurally gone! The Labor Department’s DLS indicates that there are six job seekers for each job opening and 46 percent of those unemployed have been for over six months – both historical highs. But there is a more important issue facing future job seekers and the US economy.

Closing America’s Global Skills Gap

Many American companies find themselves ill-equipped to grow because of a lack of skilled workers according 2005 report by the National Association of Manufactures “The Growing Skills Gap.” Interestingly, the skill gap is no longer in the high technology area but rather in workplace attitudes of dependability, attendance and the basic skills of the 3 R’s. But the skill gap is also not just a “large manufacturing company” problem. A 2002 U. S. Chamber of Commerce report “Keeping Competitive” indicates that 73 percent of surveyed small companies with less that 50 employees are experiencing “severe” or “very severe” problems in hiring qualified workers. The study also indicated that 40 percent of all job applicants had “poor or no employment skills.”

The National Business Alliance (NBA) co-sponsored, along with the American Council on Education (ACE), the Business Higher Education Forum (BHEF)– a group of CEO’s and university chancellors examining and speaking jointly on issues of national concern. The BHEF has issued three reports “Spanning the Chasm: Corporate and Academic Cooperation to Improve Workforce Preparation” , “Spanning the Chasm:A Blueprint for Action” and in 2008 “Corporate Investment in College Readiness and Access.” All three focus on the connection between higher education and the world of work, specifically how well the linkage works for employers, graduates, and institutions. America’s competitive edge in the 21st century global economy will greatly depend on a healthy spirit of collaboration between business and higher education as colleges and universities prepare graduates to take their place in the nation’s workforce.

The American Council on Education indicated in 2002 that “the quality of the nation’s elementary and secondary schooling is inadequate to meet the needs of the 21st century.” The US Department of Education’s 2001-2002 biennial survey of over 35,000 faculty at 358 American colleges disturbingly revealed that the surveyed faculty believed that only 32 percent of new students are academically prepared for college.

In 2003 ASTD issued a white paper titled “The Human Capital Challenge.” It indicated “now more than ever the success of public and private organizations in the United States depends on the knowledge and capabilities of their employees.” Followed in 2006 by ASTD’s “Bridging the Skill Gap,” which focused on talent management and the coordination required between training and human resources to develop lacking 21st century skills in the workforce.

In 2005, Deloitte Consulting surveyed human resource executives nationwide and more than 70 percent of the 123 respondents said incoming workers with inadequate skills pose the greatest threat to business performance over the next three years, followed by baby boomer retirement (61 percent) and the inability to retain key talent (55 percent). They also found that respondents indicated that they expect to lose 11 percent of their workforce by 2008 due to boomers’ early retirement at 62. These findings are highlighted in the Deloitte Research report “It’s 2008:Do you Know Where Your Talent Is?”

This American ‘awakening’ of the lack of competitive global skills and how damaging it is to our international competitiveness has been most recently discussed by US president – Barak OBama, when he addressed the nation to discuss his 2009-2010 budget and the national priorities of his administration. “The only way we can compete globally is to provide our young people with a world class education,” he said. Unfortunately, we have only made marginal progress as a nation in the last two decades since the problem has been documented and its cause has been squarely place on America’s public school system. The president is pushing for not only higher standards but longer school periods – “the Japanese have had longer school days – including Saturdays, for over two decades.”

“Invented Here: The Report on the Future of the South,” issued by the Southern Governors Association (SGA) says, “A regions performance in the knowledge economy can rise no higher than the sum of the knowledge of its people.” At a recent conference concerning human capital strategies held by SGA, the U. S. presidents of Mercedes Benz, Toyota, and Michelin spoke on their rural Southern workforce. Their factory workers make $60 to 85,000 a year managing computer integrated manufacturing lines that control robots at several work stations. Employees rotate jobs on a daily and monthly basis, meaning that workers need to know how to perform eight to ten different jobs. The skills these workers need to succeed are related to their knowledge and conceptual talents. Success in the new technology-driven economy will require new skills and competencies that allow people to perform multiple assignments; have over a dozen different jobs and five to seven distinct careers – necessitating possession of universal portable ‘core’ competencies.

So transferable skill-sets, or competencies, have become the new currency for success and future employability. In the near future skills defined as critical thinking, creative problem solving, communication and collaboration (the four Cs) will become even more important to organizations according to a new survey conducted by American Management Association (AMA) issued in April 2010. The AMA recommends that public education merge the four Cs with the traditional three Rs in its curriculum as it acknowledges the skills gap.

Losing America’s Economic Dominance

In 2006, the US Conference Board surveyed 431 human resource managers and issued its report, “Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Partnerships for 21st Century Skills.” It revealed that America’s future workforce was “ill prepared” for the required 21st century skills; 70 percent of those surveyed indicated new employees had work skill deficiencies; and almost four out of ten didn’t have a high school education.

A 2006 report by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), “America In The Global Economy” looked at America’s last 50 years of economic dominance and concluded:

  1. The US superiority came from scale, innovation and educational achievement.
  2. That 5,000 companies were spending 2.7 percent of GDP on research and development..
  3. Through the late 1970s, America “far exceeded” other nations in the 25-64 age bracket of those who had graduated from high school.
  4. In the late 1990s we had the most college graduates.
  5. From 1980-2000, 58 percent of the workforce had some college education.
  6. However, by 2030, India’s population will exceed China’s, and…
  7. China will have the largest economy by 2040.
  8. Now Canada has proportionally the most college graduates, and shortly Russia, Norway, the Czech Republic and Japan will have more high school graduates than the US.

So America’s scale advantage will be exceeded soon by China and India and its educational advantage has slipped to sixth. Additionally in 2004, the US graduated 70,000 engineers, India over 280,000 and China greater than 800,000—potentially threatening America’s third dominance factor: innovation.

The Six Lifelong Transferable Competencies (LTCs)

These six LTCs, are reflective of new millennium challenges. They are not traits, habits, or specific activities; but individual competencies that require a sub-set of related activities that must be mastered.

To succeed today one and one’s organization must be driven by satisfying the changing customer’s needs. Your customer may be either external or internal. All organizations need effective and efficient problem solvers who can utilize technology to meet the customer’s need in a response time that provides a sustainable competitive advantage through added value and service. In order to perform effectively in today’s multicultural society it is important to have a global perspective and cultural understanding and sensitivity. One must be motivated and persistent for the right reasons; realizing that you can increase your motivation substantially to face unforeseen future challenges. Managers must also motivate their organizations towards the same goals. The root of all effective motivation is a healthy amount of self-esteem. Managing one’s career to have multiple and varied job assignments, including an international position, will develop the needed skill-sets. A formal career plan, along with feedback from candid and trusted friends for realism, and a mentor to assist you is navigating one’s career moves is critical to career success. Finally, living a balanced and healthy life with time devoted to family and outside work activities  is now recognized as also essential to life and career success.

“The Conference Board’s research confirms that American business finds new entrants to the workforce lacking in the skills required to be globally competitive both today and for the demands of the coming years. Frank Leibold, in his new book-“Competencies That Close America’s Global Skill Gap”- recognizes and analyzes this deficit and offers individuals specific guidance on how to overcome these skill gaps. His advice is important for those just entering the workforce who may find they need skills heretofore unlearned. However, his advice may be even more critical for those more seasoned workers who are challenged by having to reinvent themselves in this new economic reality, where companies are requiring employees to take on more responsibility for their personal and professional well-being?”
——– Mary Wright, Project Leader, Workforce Readiness Initiative,The Conference Board


Despite a $862 billion job stimulation legislation last year the slow and unsteady economic recovery has been jobless. Some claim that the uncertainties of new medical and financial legislation have prevented companies from spending an estimated $1.3 trillion in capital. Others point to jobs moving to lower wage rate countries. However it should be clear that tomorrows jobs will require new competencies that close America’s global skills gap.

Author Bio: Frank Leibold after a distinguished 30-year business career with three multinational corporations-culminating in the position of Group President-re-tooled himself and obtained his PhD.. Frank then became a nationally recognized university professor of marketing while founding his own global management consulting company. He and his wife reside in South Carolina and spend time traveling to visit and spoil their nine grand-children–two in Australia. His new book: The Key To Job Success In Any Career will be published in October 2010 by Outskirts Press – excerpts form the basis for this article.

Good luck in your search.

Posted via email from AndyWergedal