Share of Americans in the work force declining
The share of Americans in the workforce has reached its lowest point in 35 years.
There are many in the US that would like to place the blame for this on the political climate or a growing entitlement class. However I would like to suggest two alternative forces
1. The difficulty in changing and adding new technical skills
2. The frustration found in many workplaces
We have witnessed several organizations adapting to point 1 by increasing investments in skills education. This will have to be a growing part of talent management beyond the current leadership development emphasis.
However it's point two that could be the greater challenge - a growing number of employees who are ready to "check out" of organizations. A surprising number are re-evaluating thier careers as they find 401K and investments returning to pre-recession levels and beyond. Early retirements in 2013 surprised many. They will continue to rise in 2014.
The reason? Frustration with much of the productivity gains during the recession which came only from headcount reductions - not improvements in processes. There is also the widening gap between the increases at the top versus the rest of the organization.
As the economy continues to improve don't be surprised if some employees chose to opt out rather than investing in jobs and careers where they see little to no upside.
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