Workin' for a Livin' - Betting it all on 50%
Taking what they're giving as Huey Lewis sang, is not a very stable approach to managing your business. Workin’ for a livin’ is a great song though. Betting your future on those working for a living is a 50% proposition and is about as dependable as a Dodge Reliant K car. (Remember those from the 80s?)
We have gone all in, around Wyoming and the nation, thinking that somehow we can fix our workforce woes by training enough folks, educating enough folks, or tempting enough lazy folks that aren’t working since Covid to come back to work.
The problem is that while these issues make political hay and warm the partisan's heart to talk about, they don’t really reflect reality. Like Guess jeans from the 80s (some of you don’t understand this reference and you don’t know about the “coolness” of us 80s kids, but suffice it to say they were the “in” thing) the economic development coolness of blame is quickly giving way to the revenge of the nerds and the embrace of math.
What's the math?
Factually, there are two jobs in this country for every human seeking employment. Additionally there are one million less workers being born every year moving forward. So, if you want your business to be a dynamic profit center and not a challenged money pit, you better be thinking more like Mr. Roboto and less like Sam Cookes Chain Gang. You can educate and train every human available in this nation and still be short workforce. Technology is the key to this problem and it must be utilized if we are to succeed as a community, a state, and a nation. Technology in the form of robots, driverless vehicles, artificial intelligence and much more must be a part of our work if we are going to be prosperous.
Doubtful that companies can pull this off? I would refer you to the new McDonalds model that has no workers. Imagine driverless trucks (already running) delivering to workerless restaurants. Umm… You don’t have to imagine. We are there. It’s not wishful thinking, it's not political opinion, it's not science fiction, it’s just math and business responding to the reality of the current environment.
The Choice is Ours
We can keep sporting that Flock of Seagulls hairdo, or we can embrace reality and move forward. Thankfully American business has always worked to stay on the cutting edge of progress, and I expect we will continue that trend. Your Chamber of Commerce will be here every step of the way letting you know the numbers and informing you of the latest opportunities to utilize tech in your business. Don’t believe any of this? Well your business may end up like big hair and coca cola shirts (yes another 80s reference), a not-so-fondly remembered relic of the past.