Monday, November 21, 2016

Election Raises Stakes for Native-Born Workforce

By Alex Pearlstein, Vice President

Regardless of your politics, it can be assumed that the results of last week’s election will likely not lead to an increase in foreign immigration to the U.S., and might have the opposite effect. For regions like Dayton, Detroit, St. Louis, and other places with little to no domestic inmigration that have launched talent initiatives targeting immigrants and refugees, this is going to make implementing these programs more difficult, or at least less viable for labor force replenishment.

Many American cities have already come out and pledged to remain sanctuaries for immigrants, but this would largely serve those already in the country. Regions that currently count on influxes of foreign migrants to satisfy employer demands in one or more industries – or those aspiring to better tap this source of labor – will have to identify alternative means to provide a competitive complement of available workers.

An unanticipated impact of the election could therefore be a new primacy on domestic talent attraction and tapping into local workforce development pipelines. Regions like Atlanta, which imports the vast majority of its workers from foreign and domestic markets, will have to replace its complement of international talent with native-born and local labor pools. This will make the competition for footloose talent even more intense and create pressure to invest greater and greater amounts in talent marketing and prospecting.

Decreases in availability of foreign-born labor will also raise the stakes for pre-K to 20 training systems and institutions. This will be due to declining international student populations and applicant pools and also a pure numbers game that is already being seen in cities across the country: more jobs are available than there is talent to fill them. An alphabet soup of programs and “cradle-to-career” coalitions is already in place to ensure students are being trained for college and careers in local demand. Complementing these are initiatives to make regions more competitive for talent by enhancing quality of place amenities. Companies will need to redouble efforts to develop relationships and connections to training providers to expose students to career opportunities and hire them for available positions.

All this is to say that current talent strategies will need to be reassessed and potentially adjusted based on new migration realities. Communities would be wise to devise proactive solutions to labor force capacity issues and reach out to partners across the full education and workforce continuum to design and implement effective programs and processes.