Home January 22, 2018
Wisconsin’s employment numbers for the upcoming year surpass regional and national figures in two categories: unemployment and hiring intention.
While the national unemployment rate sits at 4.1 percent, Wisconsin’s is at a lower 3.2 percent and, according to ManpowerGroup’s 2018 employment outlook survey, the Midwest has a hiring intention of about 20 percent – the strongest in 10 years – but Wisconsin’s intent to hire is stronger by about 1 percent.[caption id="attachment_339454" align="alignleft" width="150"] Becky Frankiewicz[/caption]
Last year’s Foxconn Technology Group deal, which promises the state a surge of manufacturing jobs, partly explains Wisconsin’s strong hiring outlook, but the numbers still show potential and an environment for growth.
However, Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America, said this reality also presents a problem – the exacerbation of the ever-growing talent shortage, both on the national and state levels.
“We are finding that 46 percent of U.S. employers are experiencing talent shortages,” said Frankiewicz, who was a panelist at the Northern Trust Economic Trends breakfast presented by BizTimes Media on Jan. 19.
To retain existing talent, companies need to invest more time and resources in up-skilling and re-skilling their existing employee base. And to attract new talent, companies need to meet talent expectations, she said.
“In a time of supply and demand mismatch – we have increasing demand and a shortage of supply, both from a population perspective, as well as from a skills perspective – talent in the marketplace is in an ideal place to get what they want from the workplace,” Frankiewicz said.
The workers currently in the driver’s seat are those of the “next gen work movement,” which Manpower defines as an increasing cross-generational preference toward non-traditional employment – think freelancers and independent contractors. The millennial generation makes up a large portion of this movement but baby boomers are also represented.
Companies need to meet expectations such as job customization, the ability for employees to work when and where they want, Frankiewicz said.
And for the talent a company has already attracted, reincorporating internal development opportunities is necessary to prepare employees for the future.
“We just don’t have enough talent in general, so you have to really maximize the talent you have inside your company,” Frankiewicz said.
For Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector, which this year leads the state in hiring intent, the need to re-skill or up-skill is especially crucial as it transitions into an age of digital automation manufacturing.
Sixty-five percent of the cross-sector jobs that will eventually employ younger millennials currently aged 18 to 24 don’t even exist yet, according to Frankiewicz. So it’s safe to say new age manufacturing skills are unlike those of the past, she said.
“A digital twin analyst, for example, is a role that will be brand new in next generation manufacturing and it’s a human being working alongside an AI or a robot,” Frankiewicz said. “That’s a role that wouldn’t be necessary today, but in the future, it will be.”
Artificial intelligence will take over highly replicable tasks such as assembly line work, but humans will continue to perform intervention-based tasks such as data analytics, a task that will likely produce job growth, Frankiewicz said. Eventually, AI will create a net benefit for job creation, she said.