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Even though employers are adding new jobs and investing in advanced technologies, they struggle to find skilled talent. You can prepare your future workforce for success by understanding how America’s working population is changing and what skills they will need in the coming years.

First, Understand How America’s Workforce is Changing

An October report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce breaks down the latest workforce data. Here’s how our country’s future workforce will change and how employers can prepare.

Labor Force Participation Is Dropping

The number of people in the workforce is expected to increase from 167.8 million to 169.6 million by 2030. But despite having more people in the workforce, the overall participation rate will continue its 20-year downward trend. In February 2020, workforce participation was around 63%. By 2030, it will drop to around 60%.

How should employers prepare? Lower workforce participation means an even smaller pool of qualified workers. To hedge against future workforce shortages, employers should establish reliable talent pipelines. Look for ways to partner with local schools and workforce development organizations.

The Workforce Is Aging

The percentage of older individuals in the overall population is increasing—a shift also reflected in the workforce. Over the past 20 years, there has been a 117% increase in workers aged 65 and older. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates the number of workers aged 55 and older will grow three times faster than workers aged 25-54. As older workers begin to retire, companies will have trouble finding experienced people to fill open positions.

How should employers prepare? Make sure older workers know they are valued and appreciated. Incentivize them to stay in their positions longer and set programs (job shadowing, apprenticeships) so they can pass their knowledge on to the next generation.

The Workforce Will Be More Diverse

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, 60% of manufacturing workers are men, and 78% are white. These demographics will shift over the coming decade as more women enter the workforce and the U.S. becomes more diverse. The number of women in the general workforce is rising and will be around 47% by 2031. And by 2045, experts predict that diverse Americans will account for 50.3% of the population.

How should employers prepare? A more diverse population means a more diverse workforce. Is your workplace welcoming to women and people of color? Do you have unbiased recruitment strategies that hire based on skills and not on gender or skin color? Consider standardizing your hiring process and incorporating industry-based skills assessments where appropriate.

Next, Equip Your Workforce With Skills for the Future

Preparing for the future workforce requires continuous skill development. Not only do workers need to be familiar with digital systems, programming, and AI, but they must also be adaptable in an unpredictable world with ongoing supply chain issues.

The same report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce includes the top ten skills needed now and in the future. You’ll notice a mix of hard and soft skills.

  • Digital literacy
  • Data literacy
  • Critical thinking
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership skills
  • Time management
  • Curiosity

Nocti Business Solutions works with subject matter experts to create skills assessments. We can help you evaluate the skills of current or potential employees—giving you objective hiring insights and data you need to close skills gaps within your organization.

We can help you evaluate industry-specific skills, like CNC programming or repairing industrial machinery, and employability skills, like critical thinking and resource management.

Many of our clients in the manufacturing industry use the Employability Skills test as an entry-level assessment tool. Hiring managers can determine if an applicant is ready for the workplace since the assessment measures reading, writing, math, critical thinking, communication, technology use, and interpersonal skills.

Prepare Your Future Workforce With An Assessment Partner

It’s never too early to prepare your workforce for the future. Nocti Business Solutions can help you accurately evaluate employees’ skills so you can put the right people in the right positions. We have over 170 assessments for every industry and can even customize a solution for your organization. Contact us to learn more about our services!