Employment and Jobs

It’s Not a Labor Shortage; It’s a Good Jobs Shortage

May 23, 2021  • Grace Heffernan & Maureen Conway

Photo of Grace Heffernan and Maureen ConwayThis time last year, delivery drivers were vital, grocery store workers were courageous, and restaurant workers were on their way to sainthood. It felt like we had come to an agreement that these occupations and the workers who filled them were the lifeblood of our society. Without them, we would not survive the pandemic.

Fast forward 12 months and we’re singing a different tune. At the first whisper from business that they are having difficulties filling jobs, we fall back into familiar tropes. We demonize individual workers — they are greedy, they are lazy, they are selfish — instead of making good on our early pandemic promises to never again take them for granted…

To put it bluntly: We are not in a labor shortage. We are in a wage shortage. We are not in a labor shortage. We are in a good jobs shortage — jobs where workers can expect livable wages, affordable benefits, paid time off and predictable scheduling.

If you care about workers, if you made a commitment last year to racial justice, now is your moment to stand up for what you believe.

Read More

This is a snippet from It’s not a labor shortage; it’s a good jobs shortage, originally published by Grace Heffernan and Maureen Conway in Crain’s Cleveland Business. Click here to read the full article.


Share

Coauthored by @conway_maureen (@AspenWorkforce) and @Grace_Face13 (@tpma_inc), this piece in @CrainsCleveland reveals that we aren’t contending with a #laborshortage, but with a #goodjobs shortage.

“We demonize individual workers — they are greedy, they are lazy, they are selfish — instead of making good on our early pandemic promises to never again take them for granted,” write @conway_maureen (@AspenWorkforce) and @Grace_Face13 (@tpma_inc).

Econ-101: Labor shortages are marked by increases in wages. In our current climate, wages have not meaningfully risen in the service industry.

[email protected]_maureen and @Grace_Face13 cut to the chase: “To put it bluntly: We are not in a #laborshortage. We are in a wage shortage. We are not in a labor shortage. We are in a good jobs shortage.”

“If you care about workers, if you made a commitment last year to racial justice, now is your moment… Do not use individual workers as scapegoats for an economic system that will stutter to a halt without a constant supply of cheap and disposable labor.”

Common themes of service sector jobs today: “low pay, few benefits and management that demonstrates little empathy for the challenges their workers are facing now or concern for their workers’ well-being.”


Learn More

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.