In recent months with global supply chains groaning at the seams, we have come to appreciate many things that we have previously taken for granted. Once readily available but now many goods and services have become the cause for careful consideration for businesses and customers alike.
However, the pandemic has shined a light on another important aspect in the mix; the role of the labour force in the global economy.
For some, the crunch became apparent through significant pinch points, such as the fuel shortage in the UK in Autumn 2021. This was brought about by several factors including an element of panic buying by the general public (fed by over-hyped media coverage no doubt) but also in large part due to a chronic shortage of heavy goods vehicle (or HGV) drivers in the UK. The majority of the UK’s fuel distribution network relies on the delivery of fuel to petrol stations via HGVs. Overall, it was estimated that the logistics sector was suffering from a shortfall of some 20,000 HGV drivers. This shortage combined with an element of panic buying brought to bear a short-term fuel crisis.
An amusing aside to the shortages came to bear in our local Waitrose where a patron upon noticing the empty shelves of duck parfait bemoaned that Waitrose had “gone to the dogs!”. #FirstWorldProblems.
Duck parfait apart, it became clear that the labour shortages were being felt across the global economy. However, an interesting trend has emerged: mass resignations. This has been dubbed “The Great Resignation”.
In the US for example, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, some 2.9% of the US workforce have quit their jobs in recent months. To put that into context, that is approximately 4.2 million a month for each month between August and October 2021.
This has led some economists, such as Laurance Katz to coin this as “a once-in-a-generation ‘take this job and shove it’ moment”. Suddenly, the tables have turned slightly in favour of employees.
This phenomenon is being felt across the board, beyond the logistics sector. CEOs…