People are flying just like every summer to Disneyland in Orlando, Florida. The relaxation of pandemic rules has made tourists feel more comfortable in their interaction and socializing with other people in crowded places. Surprises await those who venture to Orlandoas there has been shortage of labour in US. Labour shortage means that America has millions of more jobs but very less workers. At Disneyland, this implies availability of less restaurants and the shutting down of rides in light of the fact that there aren’t an adequate number of individuals to work there. According to Disneyland, the worst shortages are being felt in live entertainment and hospitality, sectors that have been left struggling in the post-pandemic hiring market, due to lockdowns.
It is not just a Disneyland problem. All over the United States, Americans are witness and observing to tis occurrence which they have never experienced before. Fast-food restaurants are shutting down drive-through lanes because there is no one to work. At humongous supermarket chains like Walmart and Target, checkout lanes have been slashed to one or two cashiers and hundreds of customers wait in line for their turn because again three are no people to carry out the task. This problem is more severe for small business entrepreneurs, some of whom have shut everything down altogether because they have not been able to maintain staff.
The US Chamber of Commerce, described as the “world’s largest business organisation”, says: “During the pandemic reshuffling, jobs that require in-person attendance and traditionally have lower wages, have had a more difficult time retaining workers. For example, the leisure and hospitality and retail industries have had the highest quit rates since November 2020, consistently above 4.5 per cent.” Things are not better even in the United Kingdom. In the past few weeks, distressing photos of Heathrow strewn with gigantic piles of abandoned luggage have circulated all over the internet. Few unfortunate passengers who had been travelling through the airport have reported not being able to recover their luggage for nearly five or six days. As a matter of fact, those are the fortunate individuals who have had the option to make the trip by any means. At Charles de Gaulle in France, individuals have to line up and wait for more than three hours prior to their flight to be able to clear security successfully and effectively. There are not enough security guards to keep the lines moving at a reasonable pace.
As a labour-exporting country, Pakistan must take advantage of this situation of shortage of labourers abroad. There isn’t one justification behind or answer for this work emergency and labour crisis. Both the US and the UK have low population growth rates. Add to this the reshuffle brought by Covid-19 and the phenomenon called ‘The Great Resignation’ (that saw millions of Americans quit their corporate jobs), and you have the disaster that is the current situation of employment market. It is also true that the jobs that people are leaving are the ones that do not have a good long-term prognosis. The accommodation business has seen colossal cuts during and after Covid-19 as business travel, their greatest driver of income lingers behind pre-pandemic rates. Everyone in the fast-automating retail sector knows that these jobs are soon going to be replaced by robots and different forms of automation.
However, the adjustment to all this would still provide millions of jobs open. Last week, the Baker Institute at Rice University released a report stressing that foreign-born workers must be part of the solution. The report calls attention to the fact that although only 1.8pc of American immigrants work in farming, fishing or forestry, they account for nearly 35.3pc of all the workers in the occupation. Similarly, high percentages of immigrants make up the workers in construction, accommodation, cleaning and building maintenance. The Baker Institute’s report sees no other solution except for the United States to create work-based immigration programmes that allow foreign-born labour to fill the gap in the American economy. “The government should also expand some of the current temporary visa programmes and design different programmes for additional temporary workers,” it says.
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Many companies are struggling in their attempt to hire high-skilled workers as well. Tech companies have over 700,000 cyber security jobs lying open and unfilled in the US.As a labour-exporting country, Pakistan should be paying close attention to the emerging demand for workers abroad. Highly skilled workers in Pakistan must be proactive in applying for positions that were previously unavailable to them because of visa issues. While the US may have fewer workers than ever before, there are millions of them eager and available to work from Pakistan.