Six Talent Shortages We All Need To Panic Over

Oh. My. Gosh. I’m posting to my OWN blog? Woah!

Heh. Sorry. Had a little spare time, figured I was due.

Six Talent Shortages We All Need To Panic Over

You should be freaking out right now. Seriously. Freak out. Draw in a deep breath and start screaming. Run in circles. Hand waving won’t be amiss.

Manpower Group recently published its 2014 survey results regarding talent shortages in America. Ho hum. Yawn. So what? Dudes. Dudettes. These things are important! We’re talking end of the world, or at least society as we know it levels of important. Here’s a few of the things they pointed out we are short on, and why we should probably PANIC right about now.

#6. Nurses

I doubt anyone is surprised here. Think about it. Nurses get to put up with cranky sick people, clean up bodily fluids worse than anything seen in a Romero flick, and deal with Gregory House, M.D.’s real life inspiration while working 25 hour a day shifts, washing their hands in acid, and wearing shower caps all day.  But hey, we’ve got plenty of doctors. Those are the really crucial folk, right? A lack of nurses is no big deal, right? Wrong. We’re running out of primary care docs too, and guess who is filling in?

nurse is stressed

Don’t worry. She’ll be drawing your blood in just a moment. You’ll feel a little sting. (source)

No worries. It’s only a matter of LIFE AND DEATH. Just relax and be glad you’re not sitting in an understaffed emergency room waiting to see someone about the arm you just fed into a wood chipper on a dare.

#5. Engineers

No one wants to be a geek, right? And what is more geeky than an engineer with his pocket protectors, calculator, and thick bottle glasses. I mean, have you ever seen an engineer out on a date with someone? Me neither.

Engineers: Less sexy than meme guy. (source)

Maybe that’s because the people who used to build really awesome things like these are now stressed-out nerds who are a bit busy. After all, one in nine of our bridges is falling apart. You probably drive over it heading to work. Every Day. The average bridge age is 42 years old. I’m that old, and I shuffle around like an old man. The roads attached to them are decrepit enough to cost the economy about $100 billion a year in traffic jams alone. Our ancient power grid falls over any time the Atlantic sneezes. Let’s not even mention dams, levees, skyscrapers, waste water treatment systems, or, you know, anything else that is falling apart that could, I dunno, KILL US.

With a critical shortage of engineers trying to keep up on maintenance it’s little wonder we occasionally have minor incidents like tri-state power outages, floods that cut the country in two, and potholes that eat your eco-friendly coal power plant fueled electric car.

#4 IT Staff.

Yeah, this was a bit of a shocker to me as well. I mean, everyone knows an IT guy, right? He’s the one you call at 3:00 am because your computer blue-screened in the middle of your best solitaire game ever. Those nerds are everywhere. And why not? Nerds are taking over. Some of them are fantastically rich!


But we’re still short of these folk. The need is outgrowing our ability to produce nerds. The number of IT pros dealing with cyber security grew by 73% between 2007 and 2012 when all other industries grew by 6%.

So what? Why are they important? Well, in 2013 552 million identities were stolen by hackers. Shoot, there’s only 300 million of us in the States. Last I checked, IT geeks are supposed to keep computer data safe, but… Oops. Oh well. So what? It’s only money. Not like hackers could start a war.

Of course, some of us could use the help. (source)

#3 Laborers

This scintillating career path is a sure winner for everyone who wants to be in it. They’re beating applicants off with a stick! Everyone’s trying to get involved, but it’s a very exclusive club! No! Really!

Seriously, though, we are shockingly dependent on unskilled laborers sucking it up and doing the jobs none of us really want. I mean who wants to spend sun-up-to-sun-down bending over with a hoe, picking weeds out of a farm field? According to UC Davis prof J. Edward Taylor even our southern “guests” are getting fed up with the job. Given the poor working conditions, pay, and general hostility up here, they are saying “Adios”. The number of migrant workers coming north to take care of our crops shrank by 38% from 2007 to 2010.


Now, I don’t know about you, but I kind of like to eat. In fact, I kind of like to eat far more than my doctor appreciates. But suddenly having our ag. sector collapse for lack of workers is not my idea of a good diet plan. In fact, it sounds like a good time to start investing in shotguns and canned goods.

#2 Accountants

Uh, what? Accountants? This one seems like no big deal to anyone. I mean, why would a shortage of bean counters be a problem? They count beans.

Maybe it’s because the U.S. tax code is over 4 million words long! I don’t know about you, but I never made it through War and Peace, and that was only 580,000 words that occasionally had a plot. Nooooo thank you! It takes 6 Billion hours a year to fill out our tax returns, and frankly, I haven’t got that much time counting that many beans. I’m too busy drinking them at Astrobucks in liquid form and having stimulating conversations about what I was into before it was cool to waste time doing my taxes.


So why is this a matter of life and death? Why is a critical shortage of accountants serious, bad news? How can it kill you?

Okay, so maybe it won’t actually kill you. It can potentially lead to misfiled taxes, which in turn can lead to garnished wages, property seizures, and possibly jail terms, but not death. Unless you get shanked in jail. That would kind of suck. So maybe it is a matter of life and death. Just saying.


#1 Truck Drivers

Yeah. That guy with the ball cap and flannel shirt tailgating you at 70mph on the interstate and shouting crude things at lot lizards? We don’t have enough of him to go around. Between 2007 and 2010 the number of big rig drivers snorfling down energy drinks and menacing the roadways dropped 13.4%. Why?

Maybe because us unappreciative folk don’t pay them very well for what they do. Know how aggravated you get when stuck in traffic on the way to work? These guys spend long weeks stuck in traffic away from home driving 11 hours a day. They seldom take vacations because any time not spent driving is money they aren’t making. What do they get for this? $6,000 a year less than the average employee. And a lot of traffic tickets. This means that young people just aren’t joining the profession. The average truck driver these days is 55.

They say I’ll get seniority in another ten years.(source)

So why is this one a clear sign it is time to panic? Well, check out this neat little interactive doohickey for an example. But to summarize, without truckers we’ll run out of gas at the pumps in a couple of days. I hate walking. I mean, look at my gut. I HATE WALKING. Manufacturing and healthcare industries will run out of critical supplies about the same time. Without those, the only way to deal with the cramp I got by WALKING is to get my leg amputated at the emergency room. After I WALK there. Also, the grocery store shelves will empty about then. McDonalds will run out of Big Macs. NO BIG MACS!  Without Big Macs there is no reason to live! It’ll be anarchy. ANARCHY!

James Hinton is a caffeine fueled panic artist who lives next to a big rig breeding ground. These days he teaches his daughters how to tailgate draft behind semis for a living.


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