A Closer Look

US – The productivity imperative and the labor markets

The productivity imperative

The past 50 years have been a remarkable period for global GDP growth, which was driven in equal Capture d’écran 2016-02-08 à 09.02.18measures by expanding the labor pool and increasing the productivity of those worker. But one of those drivers is running out of steam. As the workforce ages in many of the world’s largest economies, including the United States, a phenomenal demographic tailwind is coming to an end. To avoid a 40 percent decline in global growth rates, we need to turbo-charge productivity—and digital technologies will be one of the most important tools in our arsenal, but will also affect how the work that contributes to productivity gains is done and rewarded.

Dysfunctional labor markets

The US unemployment rate has finally dropped, but that doesn’t mean that the job market has returned to full health. Some 38 percent of US working-age adults are unemployed, inactive, or working only part-time, while companies struggle to fill open positions. At the same time, many key aspects of how labor markets work have not been working well; participation rates have not fully recovered, the fluidity of labour markets has been declining, there continues to be skill mistmatches between the talent available and the skills that businesses say they need. This situation has been crying out for positive disruption, and digital platforms are starting to provide it. Online talent platforms are injecting new efficiency and transparency into the job market. So far the biggest beneficiaries have been highly skilled professionals, but this approach can be expanded to a wider set of occupations. Even more important is the opportunity to use the data being gathered by these platforms to reinvent our system of skills development.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at The future of work: Five issues for the Next:Economy | McKinsey Global Institute | McKinsey & Company

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