It’s Only Common Sense: Defining the New Labor Force

Reading time ( words)

The gap between employee and employer in business is now considered one of the biggest challenges we face today. Our hiring base is vastly different from what it always was; this is not the greatest generation or even the boomer generation. We must adapt if we want to meet our workforce requirements.

I grew up seldom seeing my father. No, he wasn’t traveling for work. He just worked hard, taking on any job that came his way. To him the chance to have a job and earn money was a privilege and an opportunity. I never saw him because of the long hours he worked.

This was his day: As a school bus driver, he arose at 5:30 a.m., picked up his bus, and started picking up students at 6:30 a.m. When that was done, he went to his morning job at a little market where he would stock shelves, make deliveries, and do whatever was needed for the next three hours. Then he would get back in his school bus, pick up and drop off the kindergarten kids, returning to pick up the elementary school students and take them home. Following his afternoon bus ride, he would start his normal eight-hour job as the school custodian.

He kept that schedule five days a week, but he didn’t rest on weekends. On Saturday nights, he tended bar at the local VFW. My father wasn’t the only one in my community who worked like this. Most of the other men I knew—my uncles and others in our neighborhood—had similar schedules.

When my boomer generation came along looking for jobs, we had to compete for everything. There were just too many of us and too few jobs. The only people qualified to work at McDonald’s when I was in high school were the best of the bunch. They had to be honor students and get this (sorry, ladies) they had to be boys. Believe it or not, it was a big deal when McDonald’s started hiring girls and some people back then thought that the service at McDonalds declined when they started hiring girls. With that kind of thinking, maybe the good old days weren’t so great after all.

We’re now seeing a very different workforce in very different times. Contrary to popular notions, the young people entering the workforce are not lazy, irresponsible, or entitled. No matter what the folks from my own generation like to say, I believe the younger people are brighter, smarter, and–in many cases–sharper than we were. Please do not come at me with your tired anecdotal evidence about the kid down the block who won’t even mow his mom’s lawn; we had our own bad examples, and we did not want them defining our own generation either.

Today’s younger workforce is better educated, smarter, and more confident than we ever were. But they have something that neither my generation nor my father’s generation had—they have choices. They can decide where they are going to spend their time.

They can be selective about where they work. They can be judgmental; they have solid opinions about the companies they will work with. They want these companies to have a social conscience and to have a take on social responsibility. They want to make sure that they work for a company that is helping the world, not hurting it. They want to work for companies that are doing good and noble things, producing products and services that benefit the world around them. They have social causes and responsibility with a passionate mission of making the world a better place.

We can roll our eyes all we want but this is the lay of the land today. The job candidates we get to choose from consider their time valuable—too valuable to do work they deem meaningless for companies that have little meaning.

You know, we can gripe about this all we want, but in the words of Tony Soprano, “It is what it is.” We created this generation. We brought them up to think for, and stand up for, themselves, and to be intolerant of the intolerable.

To succeed in moving our companies forward, we will do it with this workforce. This means we must adapt to their needs and their requirements for a good place to work. Otherwise, you’d better start saving your money for those robots.

It’s only common sense.

Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.


Suggested Items

Classes and Meetings Under Way at IPC APEX EXPO

01/23/2023 | Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
IPC APEX EXPO 2023 doesn’t officially kick off until Tuesday, but there’s plenty of action going on here at the San Diego Convention Center. Booths are sprouting up on the show floor, and exhibitors are starting to arrive. Upstairs, committee meetings have been taking place all weekend; the IPC-J-STD-001 and IPC-A-610 Joint Task Group, and IPC-A-600 and IPC-6012 Joint Task Group meetings, were abuzz with activity. The Professional Development classes began on Sunday, covering everything from design through assembly processes, flex and rigid-flex, and technologies of the future.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

10/07/2022 | Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
It’s been a busy week for I-Connect007. Managing Editor Nolan Johnson and I covered PCB West at the Santa Clara Convention Center, and, as you’ll see in my article below the place was packed. We have an article about SMTA International, scheduled for the end of October. I think the trade show season is looking good into 2023. People are done with COVID shutdowns and ready to get back to live trade shows and conferences. We’ll be in Minneapolis to bring you the latest news and technical information. We also have a news report about the European Union committing to craft its own version of America’s CHIPS Act. There’s a great interview with Dana Korf and John Strubbe about the latest innovations in materials at TUC. And columnist Paige Fiet explains why she is committed to making manufacturing “cool” again to help recruit and retain young technologists.

Catching up With Author Ed Chambliss: Fixing a ‘Broken’ Business Model

06/22/2022 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
I love books, especially good business books. In fact, I read three or four a week which I believe makes me a very discerning critic when it comes to ones with the right message. "A One-Legged Stool: How Shareholder Primacy Has Broken Business (And What We Can Do About It)" by Ed Chambliss is one that can help us in both business and life. It has the right message. This book is so timely and extremely important now because Chambliss brings to light one of the great wrongs in the thinking of the last century, an error that has broken business for the past 50 years—the idea that we are all in business to make money for our shareholders and (and all others, employees, customers, and vendors be damned). We all know where this has gotten us.

Copyright © 2023 I-Connect007 | IPC Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.