Friday, June 12, 2009

Rust Belt Talent Shortages

Unemployment continues to rise and the prospects of recovery are pushed to 2014, or later. On the other hand, some employers are still struggling to fill open positions. Given the gloom and doom dominating the news, writing about talent shortages might seem strange. Yet, it's a problem, even in the Rust Belt.

If you are considering moving back to where you grew up, then you should consider three possible job strategies:

  1. Telecommuting
  2. Entrepreneurship
  3. Workforce Demand

Telecommuting allows you to leverage geographic arbitrage. What kind of jobs are location independent? I live in the Front Range of Colorado and I personally know quite a few people who are California real estate refugees. Many still retain their Bay Area salary while managing a Fort Collins cost of living. Conceivably, one could return to Youngstown and have a job in tow. Your primary residential consideration would be ease of access to a major airport.

Entrepreneurship is creating your own employment. This path is only for the highly motivated. If you don't see any other way to live where you want, then you are forced to be your own boss. Folks in this category are the ideal boomerang migrants, creating more jobs in a region sorely in need of them.

Workforce demand highlight the disjuncture between the skill of labor and the needs of business. Often, the unemployed must undergo retraining in order to land a new job. When looking for openings in your hometown, figure out where the talent shortages are. There little sense competing against able local labor when Westinghouse is sounding the alarm about unfilled positions or energy is emerging as a major growth industry. Position yourself to take advantage of these opportunities.

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