With Gen Zers not entering the workforce at a rate sufficient to replace retiring Baby Boomers, the United States is on the brink of facing a shallower labor market than ever before. This impending crisis is exacerbated by the loss of valuable skills and experience as Boomers exit the workforce, posing threats to productivity, innovation, and institutional knowledge retention.

Despite hopes for relief through time and changing market conditions, the outlook remains bleak. Even amidst inflation and economic uncertainty, a staggering 77% of businesses struggled to fill open positions last year. This persistent challenge suggests a deeper-rooted issue that requires urgent attention.

The volatile labor market is just one piece of the puzzle. Addressing the talent supply chain crisis demands a multifaceted approach, considering factors like declining birth rates, aging demographics, and retiring Boomers. America is experiencing its sharpest population decline in modern history, with birth rates plummeting and citizenship projected to decline by 2100. This demographic shift not only impacts the number of mouths to feed but also threatens to erode the support for our way of life.

As the population shrinks, the existing talent crisis and widening skills gap will only worsen. By 2030, it’s estimated that over 85 million jobs could remain unfilled due to a shortage of skilled workers. This necessitates a proactive approach from leaders to address the underlying population dynamics.

Hope lies in the emergence of artificial intelligence and AI-enabled technologies, offering simplified solutions to complex challenges driven by a declining population. Integrating these technologies into organizational workflows can provide crucial support as businesses navigate the evolving workforce landscape.

To build a foundation for the future of work, organizations must overhaul their talent pipelines. This involves rethinking operations and sourcing quality talent. AI and automation-powered technologies play a pivotal role in attracting talent and closing the skills gap:

  • Talent acquisition: Implementing AI solutions can enhance talent acquisition by streamlining processes and identifying suitable candidates. AI can also help mitigate bias in job descriptions, fostering inclusivity and diversity in hiring.
  • Worker experience and productivity: AI tools boost workforce productivity and prevent burnout by automating repetitive tasks and empowering employees to focus on high-value work.
  • Retention and redeployment: AI aids in identifying existing employees with the skills to fill new roles, facilitating targeted retention and redeployment efforts.

Beyond AI, creating inclusive work environments and understanding the diverse workforce composition are imperative. Employers must embrace diversity and foster an inclusive culture to drive innovation and competitiveness.

In confronting the impending decline in the U.S. population, organizations must prioritize building a resilient workforce. This requires a significant overhaul of talent pipelines and a strategic investment in AI and automation. Adapting to evolving conditions and harnessing technology will be crucial in navigating the challenges ahead.

By Impact Lab