The future of work: attracting, growing & retaining talent

The future looks bright for business and workers in the Meadowlands, at least for the near future. We know a couple things for sure: Diversity of workers will continue to grow, soft skills (employability skills) will be the top skills sought after by most businesses, artificial intelligence (AI) will replace many types of jobs and our core industries aren’t going anywhere.

Here are some key industry highlights for the Meadowlands area:

  • With the opening of America Dream, jobs will be plentiful within the retail, hospitality and tourism industry. Growth in this industry is expected to go up 34%.
  • Healthcare will remain a strong Industry as well and will grow by 20%. Jobs in this industry will vary widely but most will be mid to low skilled jobs.
  • Manufacturing is expected to remain stable and may see growth up to 6.9%.
  • The transportation & logistics industry is expected to grow by 19.8%.

Workforce needs are changing

While all this growth is great for the economy, we all need to keep our eye on two big challenges: the aging workforce and automation.  These two key factors may contribute the most in creating a vacuum of skilled workers

On another note, the future workforce will also reflect a very diverse population. We will not only see diversity in race but also a much more comprehensive generational representation. The Silent Generation, sometimes called Traditionalists, (those born before 1945) will make up only 3% of the workforce, followed by Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964), then Generation X (born 1965 to 1980), Millennials (born 1981 to 1995) and then Generation Z (born 1996 to 2012).

With five distinct generations in the workforce, the questions is: How do they all work together, how do they all get along? The key to helping this diverse workforce thrive will be company cultures that embrace diversity and inclusion, companies that have training programs that support and encourage diversity as well as job alignment that matches individual worker skills and abilities.

Here’s what’s important to know to stay competitive:

  • Treat your workforce well and make good investments in the right people.
  • Embrace and support diversity. Help all employees understand the value of different points of view, background and perspective. Support team building, but train teams how to work together.
  • Have company leaders model good “people skills.” Have them show employees “how to win and influence people.”
  • Invest in your current workforce by identifying employees who would benefit from skill enhancement. With so many online training opportunities available, keeping workers happy and upskilled is easier than ever. Group training and team building can boost morale and help employees learn how to leverage their own skills with the skills of others in their work environment.
  • Cross training staff members so that each employee can do multiple job tasks helps to keep your employees learning and growing within the company. It also allows a company to ease the lack of work being performed when an employee takes leave for a short- or long-term leave.

How to get more engagement, more productivity

Economies ebb and flow, but one of the surest ways a leader can stay competitive in today’s market is to keep your workforce engaged and productive.  Do this by encouraging and embracing a diverse workforce with a wide range of skills, invest in training and support for upcoming leaders and always keep your eye on the future skills that will be needed in your industry, keeping an eye out for talent.

The key takeaways to building a strong pipeline of workers for the future:

  • Education matters in K-12 and the right curriculum will ensure our students are armed with skills for high skilled jobs of the future.
  • Technology skills across the board are needed in almost every occupation to help business grow and thrive. These are important skills for students and adults in the workforce to continually stay up to date on.
  • Apprenticeships are effective workforce strategies for many companies to consider. Work and education that are concurrent, help many learners that don’t have success with education alone.
  • As an employer, get involved with your local school system. Provide coaching and mentoring opportunities for students to expose them to jobs within your organization or take on an intern.

With an unemployment rate around 3%, hiring, training and retaining the right people are keys to staying competitive. After all, your workforce strategies and human capital development are critical to sustaining and growing your business.

Tammy Molinelli is the Executive Director of the Bergen County Workforce Development Board (Bergen WDB). Whether you represent a business or are a job seeker in search of a new career, you are invited to put the Bergen County WDB to work for you. To learn more about the Bergen WDB and the services we offer to job seekers and businesses, please visit:  



Meadowlands Magazine, the official publication of the Meadowlands Chamber and its affiliate organizations, has proudly served the business community of the Meadowlands region sine 1976. We are among largest business magazine in New Jersey (second by circulation) and offer prime visibility opportunities for businesses to connect with potential customers.