McKinsey Quarterly has a interesting interview with Jeffrey Joerres, the CEO of Manpower on the future of the global workforce (requires subscription).
With $15B in revenue and employing some 2M workers worldwide (72 countries), ManPower has an interesting perspective on a global workforce dominated by older and more expensive workers in Europe and North America, and rapid growth making it difficult to attract and retain enough qualified workers in China, India and much of the developing world.
Here are some of the more interesting highlights from the interview:
- In their top 10 global clients – 10-25% of the workers are “nonregular”, flexible staff (US average according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics is 3%)
- The main reason for having nonregular workers is not cost saving, but an inability for companies to move fast enough by themselves
- The lifecycle of “hot jobs” has shortened dramatically – making the need for continuous retraining immensely important
- Most companies are still doing a poor job at retraining workers
- Older workers are more interested in part-time jobs than full-time temporary jobs (project based work) – which is a challenge as most companies need the latter
- He interchanges “employee engagement” with “employer branding” – which sounds so…industrial revolution-like…(my comment in italic)
Jeff Joerres further states that temporary work has increasingly become a strategic concern – and that companies can no longer afford to only pay attention to the top 10% of their organization. They need instead to focus on overall workforce optimization.
Of course, and after the 2001 downturn, companies and investors have grown accustomed to what he calls “leaned out” organizations, where companies stretched the limits of their workers and saw that they could do more with less. He thinks that companies will never go back to the old ways and just expect more from their workers.
But is this truly a sustainable situation? Or will there be a backlash at some point? Or will new forms of organizations emerge in the future?
Don’t you think that organizational innovation could lead to new breakthrough’s that would eclipse what is possible with a “more of the same company-branding workforce-optimization” type of strategy? I sure hope so.