All over the media I have observed people decrying the current labor shortage. Many blame it on unemployment insurance. Some believe it is a lack of skilled professionals. They claim that more training is necessary. One factor I have yet to see discussed is that today’s worker values freedom over money.

Gone are the days of steady full-time jobs that sustain the mundane. There are “Help Wanted” signs everywhere, but the positions needing filled are not wanted. Many jobs with any flexibility are demanding, part-time options that do not pay enough without another job on top. Available full-time jobs are often tedious, repetitive, and disheartening. Employees feel they are expendable, and employers have done much to reinforce that culture over the last several years. Industries increasingly ask for more work with less staff and less pay.

Why would people spend most of their time doing something dissatisfying for an employer they feel does not care about them? More and more people prefer to dictate how and where they spend their time – even when it means less pay and no benefits. Gig work (such as Uber, Door Dash, and InstaCart) allow people to work the hours they choose and are not location-specific. People are gravitating toward remote positions. Even skilled laborers prefer three 12-hour-days over 50, 60, or 70-hour mandatory work weeks.

Perhaps the labor shortage indicates that laborers’ current interests and values are not being met. Why have full-time pay and benefits without the time to really enjoy them?

Jessica Rossiter, Anderson

Trending Video