This morning during my daily canvas of various news sites and online articles, I came across a blog titled The Perfect Talent Storm. The writer talks about a talent shortage on the horizon for the U.S. workforce. He pinpoints three primary causes of this looming problem: shifting workforce demographics, a less educated society and the changing nature of our work.
While all of these are valid points to ponder, Id like to focus for a moment on shifting workforce demographics a topic thats been on our radar for a while in the IRS Recruitment Office.
It doesnt concern us that different generations have different skill sets. After all, anyone can be taught how to use an operating system or create an Excel spreadsheet. However, institutional knowledge cannot be taught – it must be gained through experience.
In the past, the average career path was like a straight ladder; start at the bottom and work your way up, one rung at a time, until you reach the top. Todays career path is more like a game of Chutes and Ladders. Employees are more frequently finding themselves climbing one ladder, going down a slide and sometimes skipping two ladders sometimes by choice, and sometimes by necessity.
Even in government, its getting harder and harder to find lifelong employees. We all know someone who worked their way up from the mailroom to the boardroom, but sometimes it seems like employees lately are barely in a position long enough for the ink on their résumé to dry.
Perhaps its me, but it appears many workers today focus more on advancing their careers than on gaining institutional knowledge.
Are we forever losing institutional knowledge along with the retiring baby boomers?
Recruitment 411 is the official blog of the IRS Recruitment Office.