7 Outcomes of the Unserviced Workforce
The primary reason I accepted the job of Director of Career Services in the Pamplin College of Business in 2010 was to keep job seekers out of the Unserviced Workforce.
There are three distinct job seekers in today’s labor market: white collar professional workers, blue collar skilled workers, and the Unserviced Workforce.
White collar professional workers are being serviced by private third-party groups (headhunters). Typically their skill sets are in high demand and companies are paying a premium for their services. Professions such as health care, engineering, information technology, and accounting are all in high demand regardless of region. These workers are coveted because they will most likely drive the regional economy forward.
The blue collar skilled workers are being serviced by public third-party agencies (community colleges, workforce investment boards, employment commissions, staffing agencies, etc.). Typically their skill sets are in high demand and companies try to create a pool of candidates to become trained to perform these jobs. Professions such as manufacturing, trades, technicians are all in high demand. These workers are coveted because they can stall the regional economy from moving forward.
The Unserviced Workforce is caught in the middle. Neither the public nor private sector is serving this group. This segment of the workforce can be characterized as: younger with potential or upside; has some form of higher education; has good skill sets, but not billable skill sets, which are in demand; and are looking for a “professional” job paying a livable salary. This is the critical mass of knowledge workers who are underemployed, overeducated, or who are leaving smaller regions for larger metropolitan areas for better employment opportunities.
Below are seven probable outcomes of these job seekers in the Unserviced Workforce:
Outcome #1: Acquire new skills to move up
This will require continuing education and a commitment to the acquisition of these demanded skills.
Outcome #2: Humble oneself and move down
This will require performing multiple jobs moving forward, accepting a lower standard of living, and the realization there is a surplus of people with similar skills sets in the market.
Outcome #3: Start a business
This will require taking more risk by starting small while still looking for a job, going to school, or working a platform job, and identifying many government programs to assist you.
Outcome #4: Move laterally between jobs in the Unserviced Workforce
These people will most likely not make an investment in continuing education or start a business. They may think they are better than blue collar jobs. Typically younger, these workers will bounce from job to job and not “get ahead”.
Outcome #5: Remain unemployed
These people are still not humbled or motivated to get out of the Unserviced Workforce because they are waiting for the economy to turnaround and/or are family/spouse supported.
Outcome #6: Move or leave the region
These people believe “it’s not me” but the place they live that’s the problem. They are typically unattached or younger and are more capable of leaving or are forced to leave due to the severity of the regional economy.
Outcome #7: Retire early, if able
These people are focused on years of work experience rather than result-based metrics. They are frustrated by perceived age discrimination in the recruiting process. They will re-enter workforce at a later time, perhaps working only part-time. Their decision depends on the nest egg and lifestyle.
If you are a job seeker and are reading this post, I challenge you to get out of the Unserviced Workforce by seeking Outcomes #1, #2 or #3. Inaction will leave you in Outcomes #4 and #5 and poor attitudes result in Outcomes #6 and #7.
There are jobs available and plenty of them. No public or private-sector program is going to create a job market equilibrium. It’s solely up to the job seeker to stay out of the Unserviced Workforce.