Winning the coming jobs war by Jim Clifton

Winning the coming jobs war

The Coming Jobs War

Whether it is politicians, educators, business owners, union leaders, or neighbours talking over the fence, conversations about people and employment tend to make the top 10 list. Perhaps driven, in part, by the local news headlines, or resulting from the plethora of books being published on this subject, jobs and, more specifically, the quality of jobs and availability of relevant talent has taken centre stage in economic development and community competitiveness.

Jim Clifton, chairman of Gallup, a worldwide research-based performance-management consulting company, offers insight and perspective on what he claims will be the deciding factor between communities that succeed and those that are left behind. In his book The Coming Jobs War Clifton writes of the greatest challenge facing leaders today: the urgent need for countries and cities to focus on creating good jobs. He crafts some powerful statements at a time when we are dealing with the European debt crisis, escalating disparity between areas of the country with high unemployment while others face skill shortages, and the undeniable fact that there is a disconnect between job vacancies and the skill levels of available talent.

Following six years of global data collection through the World Poll, which captures the opinion of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants across every county, demographic and sociographic group, Clifton has concluded that “what everyone in the world wants is a good job”. He goes on to define a good job as one that offers people the type and amount of work they want. He contends that good jobs foster well-being, support achievements in all areas of human development, and drive prosperity.

He offers his prediction that the country that does the most to enable job growth will indeed take its place in the world as the next economic superpower. As an American, and claiming bias, he offers ten findings that are “the most important of literally trillions of combinations of data and opinions Gallup has studied” for the United States to win:

1. The biggest problem facing the world is an inadequate supply of good jobs.

2. Job creation can only be accomplished in cities.

3. There are three key energy sources of job creation in America: the country’s top 100 cities, its top 100 universities, and its 10,000 local ‘tribal’ leaders.

4. Entrepreneurship is more important than innovation.

5. America cannot outrun its healthcare costs.

6. Reduce school drop-out rates – local leaders need to lead their cities and all youth programs to wage war on the dropout rate, with the strategy of one city, one school, and one student at a time.

7. The United States must differentiate itself by doubling its number of engaged employees.

8. Jobs occur when new customers appear.

9. Every economy rides on the backs of small to medium sized businesses.

10. The United States needs to more than triple its exports in the next five years and increase them by 20 times in the next 30 years.

While these ten arguments are at times debatable, there are some good lessons that can be taken into consideration by all leaders at the local, provincial, and national level. It’s worth picking up a copy.