Impending Crisis: Too Many Jobs, Too Few People by Roger E. Herman and Tom Olivo
, Oakhill Press, $30.00 Hardcover, UNK Pages, August 2002, ISBN 1886939535
In the late 90s, there was a shortage of qualified people in the labor force and many jobs went unfilled. Putting an ad in the paper garnered little response, and those folks who did respond and were subsequently hired were little more than compromises. The authors of this book refer to that ugly time as a warm-up for what they predict will happen to the job market in the next eight years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that our economy will support 167,754,000 jobs by the end of the decade, but we will only have 157,721,000 people in the labor force to fill those jobs. That is a shortfall of 10,033,000 people. However, the problem isnt just a matter of finding warm bodies to fill the seats, its about finding qualified people and keeping them.
The first half of this volume discusses how we got to this crisis point and offers much in the way of supporting statistics. The second half of the book offers up possible solutions not easy ones, but solutions none-the-less. Take, for example, the inadequate schooling of the emerging labor force. The American Management Association reveals that over 38% of 1999 job applicants lacked the literacy and numeracy skills required to perform the jobs they applied for. The authors make the point that the business community can not sit and blame the school system for this problem. Instead, the business community needs to work with the schools to improve the quality of those schools offerings.
This book is so inventive and dynamic that I found myself stopping mid paragraph to tell somebody about a gem trapped within its pages. This is a Gee Whiz book, for lack of a better description. In Impending Crisis, every page has either a statistic or a highlighted nugget of information (aka Words of Wisdom) interspersed throughout the book that really made me say, huh or wow. Heres one of my favorite Gee Whizs: A cold chair, or vacant position on your staff, is a bad thing; however, even worse is to have a warm chair, a position filled by a person who isnt motivated and is taking the spot that could be filled by a superstar. Yeah, that makes sense, and why should we, as employers, settle for anything but superstardom?
Not to be taken lightly, Impending Crisis, is a book essential to the future of your company. I have known Roger Herman for a long time and it is safe to say that he has terrific vision. And because he has been so far in front of the curve with his other books, such as Keeping Good People in 1990, Id even say hes a bit the clairvoyant. Now, he and Tom Olivo warn: Employers, particularly in the United States, are in serious troubleand few realize it and Id advise you to take them seriously and buy this book to learn how to stave off the crisis.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.