Maximizing employment is a cornerstone of successful nations and a continual challenge to most nations. High un(der)employment results in both lost taxes and increased spending on benefit programs, while full employment provides greater wealth for all. Too often, there is an imbalance between supply and demand of jobs and candidates, particularly for specific age or skills groups and when costs drive the displacement of workers through outsourcing or the use of foreign labor, leading to wealth leaking away. Nations rightfully strive to achieve full employment at the highest possible skill and wage levels to maximize national competitiveness and wealth.
The impact of un(der)employment or low skilled, low wage labor is not only an issue of wealth and well-being of citizens, but is also an issue for the social fabric of a nation. Just as a positive spiral of higher skills, higher wages, and higher wealth can lead to greater social cohesiveness and stability, the opposite is also true. A negative spiral of low employment, low wages, and lower wealth can lead to dissatisfaction and potentially, social and political unrest.
As most nations understand, these issues are complex and do not resolve themselves. Indeed, labor issues require active labor management policies (ALMP) that have long lead-times and need significant effort to become successful. Policies, organizations, processes, and technology need to be aligned to achieve growth in employment opportunities, enhancement of skills, invite highly skilled immigrants and balance between job supply and candidate demand. The aim is to have the right people with the right skills available at the right time in the right place. Nations have to attend both to the highly skilled workforce and the under skilled workforce simultaneously. A successful vision and strategy at the top level requires the right technology to support that vision at the foundation level.
As WCC’s experience in a major active labor management project demonstrates, a good reliable technology platform, even a federated platform, is a crucial tool to support ALMPs. At the macro level, it should provide insights on long-term trends and the effects of policies to better achieve balance between job availability and job seekers. At the micro level, it should identify the gaps in the proficiencies of a job seeker and the workforce as a whole and thereby identify the appropriate measures to be taken. Overall, the platform should be able to simplify processes and eliminate costs; it should integrate well with existing systems; and it should process and provide information that helps refine and improve policies.
Existing systems were designed around different needs and cannot fulfill these demands. Some organizations are starting to realize this. They need help gathering facts in order to determine the best possible transformation path given their challenges, goals and situation. Organizations need assistance in increasing the employability of job seekers and improving the efficiency of systems that will preserve and eventually, boost a country’s competitiveness and wealth. Getting the right information to the right people at the right time is the challenge. In order to realize the above organizations need to transform their systems based architectures to an information driven architecture.
Good data alone is not enough, nor is a good platform on its own. To implement changes in a sustainable way that strengthens governments, all elements – organizations and their people, systems and processes, data and platforms – should work as one. This combination becomes a solid basis to develop innovative strategies for successful transformation.
WCC believes that the vision and strategy for labor management are inextricably linked with the technology that supports them. While technology is not sufficient in itself to realize the vision and strategy, it must align with them for labor management to succeed. At the same time, while technology should never drive the vision, technology innovations can and do provide opportunities to enhance or extend a vision by offering new capabilities.