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Business press articles on the widely experienced shortage of workers in the United States often identify as part of the problem that the current “labor participation rate” (1) is unusually low. The articles generally offer up several theories on why so many people are not participating in the labor market. Those theories include 1) people still living off government pandemic checks, 2) people unwilling to commit to a job while the school schedules for their children continue to be unreliable, 3) laziness of the youngest generation, and 4) older people who were prematurely retired during the pandemic and choose to stay retired. Businesses lament the difficulties in finding and attracting employees, and complain how the worker shortage negatively affects their business activities.
But, have businesses considered the possibility that they could be contributing to the problem themselves? Are businesses scaring off potential employees with “woke” policies and controversial political messaging? I’m not sure I can muster much sympathy for the “woe is me” businesses lamenting their inability to find workers while the businesses push “woke” policies and controversial political positions.
I am a premature retiree, though my premature retirement slightly preceded the pandemic. I sometimes miss aspects of working, and so occasionally look at reentering the paid labor market. But when I do look, I see all the focus prospective employers put on non-core issues such as promoting sexual deviancy and related bullying (illustrated with widespread use of rainbow flags), promoting “anti-racist” racism, opposing formation of stable families, promoting the killing of employees’ babies, hating on many aspects of Western Civilization and on the foundational values of America, and other topics from the current “woke” agenda. From that I conclude that the company probably doesn’t want me, and that if I were to go to work there I would be uncomfortable and the company would be working actively to make me uncomfortable.
My profession and particular skills are used mostly by universities and large corporations, organizations most likely to be pushing woke policies and polarizing political positions. I am a Christian man who supports the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on which the United States was founded. I am married to a woman, and of German/English/Scottish ethnic heritage. So I have many of the characteristics “woke” ideology seeks to banish from society. Why would I seek to work somewhere where I am so obviously unwelcome, and for an organization that seems determined to make me uncomfortable being there? I lose any residual interest I may have had in trying to reenter the labor force. Which means employers have to a shrunken pool of prospective employees.
I understand that employers believe “woke” policies and controversial political positions attract a type of employee the employer considers valuable. How sure are employers that they are pursuing a net positive? Can employers really be sure that their “woke” policies and controversial politics don’t discourage more prospective employees than they encourage?
As a side note, I also admit to deriving perverse enjoyment when those very “woke” employees the employers say they want then cause all sorts of internal turmoil when their woke priorities inevitably clash (see Washington Post and New York Times newsrooms for example).
Employers really should consider the possibility that pursuing wokeness might not be the net positive they seem to think it is for attracting employees that will help the business succeed. I can’t muster much sympathy for employers claiming they can’t find employees while those employers are actively driving prospective employees away.
(1) the percentage of people of “working age” who are either working or actively looking for workPublished in