For those of us who were able to work through the most recent recession in our chosen field, or for those of you who landed in new jobs in new industry, the future is extremely bright. Corporations are starting to hear the message that the future will hold labor shortages in the US.

Research conducted by the McKinsey Consulting Group titled “The War for Talent” indicates that the search for the best and the brightest talent will become a constant, costly battle.

The reason for this talent shortage has to do with demographics. In the very near future, there will be 15% fewer Americans in the 35 to 45-year-old range than there are now. At the same time, the U.S. economy is likely to grow at a rate of 3% to 4% per year. As such, over that period, the demand for bright, talented 35 to 45-year-olds will increase by 25%, and the supply will be going down by 15%.

Your goal is to remain in “the sweet spot” of your marketplace. Cultivate high demand skills, training, education, certification necessary to command higher salaries.

If you’re an accountant, study for and become a CPA; if you’re a network engineer, study for and get as many quality certifications as you can. Do you have a Master’s degree? Consider getting one/ Certifications and training become positive differentiators in the marketplace.

Years ago, I spoke to a young man who already had 7 years in the industry as a technologist but did not have a college degree. He was managing payroll systems for a multinational firm but he was finding doors closed. After explaining his concerns, he asked for advice and I suggested that he find a good and convenient degree program. I told him that having the degree wouldn’t guarantee a job but would eliminate excuses as to why he wasn’t being hired and put him on an equal footing with peers with whom he was competing.

Yes, it is work to stay current or even ahead of the curve and, for most people, it will pay off financially and in terms of job satisfaction many times over.

© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC  2006
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