Employee Shortage and “Woke” Employers

 

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 work

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  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I think the reasons vary quite a bit across regions and industries, and you might be right about the “woke” nonsense. People who can get out may be doing so in droves simply because they don’t want to assume the risk of offending someone by not getting the pronoun right, and they don’t want to bother learning the new language of woke (it is super complicated). However, I think there are also other reasons afoot: local, state, and federal government policies.

    My neighbor started a landscaping business six years ago. The first year was hard–balancing the cost of the equipment he had to buy with the low startup income that the equipment was actually generating. Then the next three years–the years of the soaring Trump economy–were fantastic (all that Trump deregulation). Even through the pandemic. Although my neighbor’s expenses were high, he could still pay his employees pretty well.

    No one convinced me to admire Trump more than my neighbor while he was developing his new successful business. I credited Trump. Even through the pandemic, Trump kept the U.S. ship afloat and functioning with his refusal to sell panic. Without Trump, we would have seen tremendous depravation. He did a fantastic job at the helm. The Democrats were selling national ruination. Only Trump kept them at bay. At least that’s how I saw it.

    This year my neighbor couldn’t find any employees. None of the employees he had had over the last two years would work for him because he couldn’t give them health insurance. He hadn’t been paying for that benefit in the preceding years–and I’m not sure why since they worked long days, surely over the twenty-hour minimum. But it was only a part-time job in the sense that it lasted only six to eight months a year. Perhaps his employees had simply been going without it, but I thought that was illegal. So I’m not sure what happened.

    This year, what my other neighbors told me was that the cost to small employers of health insurance–the employer’s contribution plus the employee’s–has increased considerably this past year in Massachusetts. Being unable to find experienced employees, my neighbor was very depressed for a few weeks–very unlike him–and we neighbors were worried. He finally let go of a lot of his customers–a third of his customer list. He has recently hired one guy who is sixty-five and on Medicare. That’s working out really well, but it’s just the two of them now.

    In many industries, we seem to be shifting to a big-company model and squeezing out the small companies because they just can’t keep up with the paperwork, costs, and legalities. The regulations are used by the big companies to drive out their smaller-company competitors. These are monopoly practices. It’s really sad, and it’s bad for consumers.

    • #1
  2. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    My old place of employment was beginning to function much like an adult day care center. Two years ago, a former co-worker said that while we used to be about engineering excellence, it seemed that “now” we were about diversity. He retired shortly thereafter. 

    • #2
  3. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    A lot of people retired after the “everything bubble”.   Then people quit to avoid the jab.  Others are not able to work because of long Covid.  According to this table, Boomers are working harder than ever.  Gen-Z is slacking.

    • #3
  4. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Django (View Comment):

    My old place of employment was beginning to function much like an adult day care center. Two years ago, a former co-worker said that while we used to be about engineering excellence, it seemed that “now” we were about diversity. He retired shortly thereafter.

    I will write an essay about this further. Excellence is essential but diversity isn’t all that important. If I need an operation I would want the best surgeon’s and nurses in the world. They could all be Asian or they could all be white. I wouldn’t care. No sensible person, of any race, would want more diversity if they had to sacrifice quality. 

    • #4
  5. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    My old place of employment was beginning to function much like an adult day care center. Two years ago, a former co-worker said that while we used to be about engineering excellence, it seemed that “now” we were about diversity. He retired shortly thereafter.

    I will write an essay about this further. Excellence is essential but diversity isn’t all that important. If I need an operation I would want the best surgeon’s and nurses in the world. They could all be Asian or they could all be white. I wouldn’t care. No sensible person, of any race, would want more diversity if they had to sacrifice quality.

    The assumptions underlying the company’s insistence on “diversity” were questionable. Do diverse group all share the same interests, the same values, the same abilities? I would doubt that, but I have no real proof. The assumption seemed to be that they do, and as result, a lack of diversity is automatically assumed to be proof of discrimination of some sort. 

    With the claims one sees today that a sense of urgency, excellence, individual achievement, etc. are values associated with “white supremacy”, the company will find itself between a rock and a hard place. Can’t insist on excellence without being racist. Lose-lose.  

    • #5
  6. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    I kind of doubt that the “wokeness” is having a huge impact on hiring, but it might in some cases.  I think it is mainly some very big corporations who are “going woke” but I don’t think they represent the majority of the workforce.  Walmart, for instance, is the largest employer in the U.S. and they have not lost their minds.

    A few month ago I heard what is driving this business woke stuff.  There was an Indian guy on the Dennis Prager show.  I don’t remember his name, but he later did a Prager 5-minute Video for the Prager University website.  He had worked with major businesses across the U.S. and laid out the staggering reason so many companies are putting out woke propaganda.

    He said that most big companies rely on “Asset Managers,” which are companies that manage the stock portfolios of these big companies.  The Asset Managers have great influence over who will invest in companies and where companies investment money will go.  It just so happens that the world’s largest Asset Manager is Blackrock Company, whose leadership is comprised of total lefty people who believe in all the transgender crap and other nonsense.  Several other large Asset Manager companies also have woke personnel in their leadership.  (Just as Wall Street Traders tend to be Democrats or lefties)  Together, these Asset managers have been blackmailing large companies to put out “woke” propaganda to their workforces and customers, lest they will not get the best investment opportunities for their companies.

    The Indian guy estimates that about 1/4 of all the companies putting out the woke propaganda are doing so because they actually believe in the lefty nonsense.  The other 3/4 are only doing it under coercion from the Asset Managers.  But I understand that businesses are starting to fight back.  I’m not sure how but that’s what I hear.

    • #6
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Whatever the reasons (and I don’t trust any single reason as being key) I am pretty sure the Biden administration doesn’t want to learn about those causes. 

    • #7
  8. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Full Size Tabby: 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.

    You monster.

    • #8
  9. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby: 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.

    You monster.

    The horror! This post should never be moved to the Main Feed, lest an unwitting progressive be traumatized for life.

    • #9
  10. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Full Size Tabby: 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?

    If a business embraces DEI, how can any employee feel confident of being treated fairly and honestly?

    • #10
  11. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby: 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?

    If a business embraces DEI, how can any employee feel confident of being treated fairly and honestly?

    It appears a surprisingly large number of people are convinced that the DEI priorities will favor them (like on many leftist topics, they always think the people setting the rules will have exactly the same priorities they do), or that somehow the DEI rulings will bypass them. 

    • #11
  12. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby: 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.

    You monster.

    The horror! This post should never be moved to the Main Feed, lest an unwitting progressive be traumatized for life.

     What’s wrong with being traumatized for life?  

    • #12
  13. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    I should work to maintain my families desired level of consumption,  but every time my employer comes up with more woke nonsense I weigh retirement.    I suspect they are trying to push the non-woke out the door.   At least I like and respect the people I directly work with.

    • #13
  14. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    I should work to maintain my families desired level of consumption, but every time my employer comes up with more woke nonsense I weigh retirement. I suspect they are trying to push the non-woke out the door. At least I like and respect the people I directly work with.

    And they think the wokesters left behind will be productive?  Lunacy.

    • #14
  15. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    The Indian guy estimates that about 1/4 of all the companies putting out the woke propaganda are doing so because they actually believe in the lefty nonsense.  The other 3/4 are only doing it under coercion from the Asset Managers.  But I understand that businesses are starting to fight back.  I’m not sure how but that’s what I hear.

    Fighting back is simple. Fire woke asset managers. It’s a twofer. No woke at work and better asset management.

    • #15
  16. Retail Lawyer Member
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    Right before the office shut for Covid reasons, I noticed tampons in the men’s bathroom.  Maybe its time to retire, I thought . . .

    • #16
  17. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Retail Lawyer (View Comment):

    Right before the office shut for Covid reasons, I noticed tampons in the men’s bathroom. Maybe its time to retire, I thought . . .

    They are great for staunching puncture wounds such as those caused by knives or bullets. Of course, if your company feels a need to guard against that contingency in the men’s room, retirement is less indicated than finding a safer workplace. Just saying.

    • #17
  18. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    The Indian guy estimates that about 1/4 of all the companies putting out the woke propaganda are doing so because they actually believe in the lefty nonsense. The other 3/4 are only doing it under coercion from the Asset Managers. But I understand that businesses are starting to fight back. I’m not sure how but that’s what I hear.

    Fighting back is simple. Fire woke asset managers. It’s a twofer. No woke at work and better asset management.

    I don’t know if it is that easy.  The Asset managers are supposedly making money for the companies.  You would think that there is some asset manager company who is not run by a bunch of woke pansies that could step up and take all the biznis from these Bolsheviks.

    • #18
  19. James Bennetts Coolidge
    James Bennetts
    @JamesBennetts

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    The Indian guy estimates that about 1/4 of all the companies putting out the woke propaganda are doing so because they actually believe in the lefty nonsense. The other 3/4 are only doing it under coercion from the Asset Managers. But I understand that businesses are starting to fight back. I’m not sure how but that’s what I hear.

    Fighting back is simple. Fire woke asset managers. It’s a twofer. No woke at work and better asset management.

    I don’t know if it is that easy. The Asset managers are supposedly making money for the companies. You would think that there is some asset manager company who is not run by a bunch of woke pansies that could step up and take all the biznis from these Bolsheviks.

    Is the difficulty that asset managers refuse to work with companies that are insufficiently woke? Or that they refuse  to invest in such companies?

    (Both I should imagine, but which has the greater impact?)

    • #19
  20. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Do you own an index mutual fund, like a total stock market fund?  The “asset manager” of that fund, like Vanguard, buys stock in all those companies for the fund.  By virtue of owning the stocks in the fund, Vanguard gets to “vote” their shares every year.   For some big companies, Vanguard, Fidelity, and other big fund managers are their largest shareholders, and have influence over how the companies are run.  I have heard some mention of the big fund companies polling their customers on how they might vote their shares, if they owned them.  When you buy a passive-index mutual fund, you essentially give your votes to the fund managers to manage on your behalf.  Maybe if enough Vanguard or Fidelity customers let their interests be known, the big fund managers might take notice.  In fact, I have a personal financial advisor at Vanguard, and I intend to give him a piece of my mind on “wokeness” the next time we talk, at the end of this month.

    • #20
  21. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Do you own an index mutual fund, like a total stock market fund? The “asset manager” of that fund, like Vanguard, buys stock in all those companies for the fund. By virtue of owning the stocks in the fund, Vanguard gets to “vote” their shares every year. For some big companies, Vanguard, Fidelity, and other big fund managers are their largest shareholders, and have influence over how the companies are run. I have heard some mention of the big fund companies polling their customers on how they might vote their shares, if they owned them. When you buy a passive-index mutual fund, you essentially give your votes to the fund managers to manage on your behalf. Maybe if enough Vanguard or Fidelity customers let their interests be known, the big fund managers might take notice. In fact, I have a personal financial advisor at Vanguard, and I intend to give him a piece of my mind on “wokeness” the next time we talk, at the end of this month.

    There is a guy, who started a conservative web site, that was linked to (I think) here on Ricochet (or by one of the other many sites Ricochetti patronize) who wrote that he has also started an unwoke investment company to take BlackRock’s business.  I don’t know where to find it (and of course the Ricochet search engine is not trustworthy to either find it or to determine that it’s not here).  But you should at least just know that one exists and to keep your eyes open for it.

    • #21
  22. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Django (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    My old place of employment was beginning to function much like an adult day care center. Two years ago, a former co-worker said that while we used to be about engineering excellence, it seemed that “now” we were about diversity. He retired shortly thereafter.

    I will write an essay about this further. Excellence is essential but diversity isn’t all that important. If I need an operation I would want the best surgeon’s and nurses in the world. They could all be Asian or they could all be white. I wouldn’t care. No sensible person, of any race, would want more diversity if they had to sacrifice quality.

    The assumptions underlying the company’s insistence on “diversity” were questionable. Do diverse group all share the same interests, the same values, the same abilities? I would doubt that, but I have no real proof. The assumption seemed to be that they do, and as result, a lack of diversity is automatically assumed to be proof of discrimination of some sort.

    With the claims one sees today that a sense of urgency, excellence, individual achievement, etc. are values associated with “white supremacy”, the company will find itself between a rock and a hard place. Can’t insist on excellence without being racist. Lose-lose.

    Yes it stands to reason that excellence in performance, in service, in production quality — these  all involve having standards.

    But companies seem to act as though standards have to fall by the way side so that diversity goals can be met.

    In some health systems in Calif, it seems like the point of the health system is to provide employment for newly arrived immigrants. The advantage to the employer is that if most employees are newly arrived people, they want that work visa so they won’t squeal on the employer when that hospital through its decline in standards starts to fall apart.

    The last time I did private duty work for a patient at Marin General Hospital, the place was like a damn MASH unit. The nursing assistants were all Latinas, who continually  let patients know they couldn’t help them because “no speak English.”

    The actual nurses were white and English speaking. They may well have been able to serve proficiently except for the fact that they were all traveling nurses. This meant they were new arrivals. They didn’t know the patients, or where the med cabinet was or where the key to it was. Ten days later when they  were up to speed, the agency which they worked for would  transfer them to a different facility.

    It doesn’t need to be like this. UCSF hospital in San Francisco has a very diverse work force. There are people from every corner of the earth working there. But to be hired at that place, an individual has to speak English fluently when the individual is serving an English speaking patient.

    • #22
  23. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    I just left a large organization after having to go through a large number of Woke propaganda “training programs” – they were pushing ESG agenda – it looks like it could have been written by by blackrock.  I moved to a smaller company which is more focused on actual Profit and revenue than woke (only the large multi-nationals can waste time with this)

    • #23
  24. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Only people (and businesses) with excess wealth can afford to pursue nonsense. Do the asset management companies that control so much investment really believe the companies in which they invest have that much excess wealth that they can waste it on ESG and other nonsense, driving away customers and employees? If the companies do have that much excess wealth, why are companies not able to meet their core business obligations due to worker shortages? 

    • #24
  25. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    MarciN (View Comment):
    and I’m not sure why since they worked long days, surely over the twenty-hour minimum

    Obamacare rules for employers don’t kick in until the business has fifty employees.

    • #25
  26. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Fighting back is simple. Fire woke asset managers. It’s a twofer. No woke at work and better asset management.

    I don’t know if it is that easy.  The Asset managers are supposedly making money for the companies.  You would think that there is some asset manager company who is not run by a bunch of woke pansies that could step up and take all the biznis from these Bolsheviks.

    Supposedly.  I doubt assent managers more focused on Woke than the bottom line actually are making money for the company – or making as much money as if they were focused on the bottom line. Fire ’em and find out.

    • #26
  27. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    Cassandro (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Do you own an index mutual fund, like a total stock market fund? The “asset manager” of that fund, like Vanguard, buys stock in all those companies for the fund. By virtue of owning the stocks in the fund, Vanguard gets to “vote” their shares every year. For some big companies, Vanguard, Fidelity, and other big fund managers are their largest shareholders, and have influence over how the companies are run. I have heard some mention of the big fund companies polling their customers on how they might vote their shares, if they owned them. When you buy a passive-index mutual fund, you essentially give your votes to the fund managers to manage on your behalf. Maybe if enough Vanguard or Fidelity customers let their interests be known, the big fund managers might take notice. In fact, I have a personal financial advisor at Vanguard, and I intend to give him a piece of my mind on “wokeness” the next time we talk, at the end of this month.

    There is a guy, who started a conservative web site, that was linked to (I think) here on Ricochet (or by one of the other many sites Ricochetti patronize) who wrote that he has also started an unwoke investment company to take BlackRock’s business. I don’t know where to find it (and of course the Ricochet search engine is not trustworthy to either find it or to determine that it’s not here). But you should at least just know that one exists and to keep your eyes open for it.

     

    The man’s name is  Vivek Ramaswamy

    ‘Woke, Inc.’ Author’s Startup to Take On BlackRock – WSJ

     

    • #27
  28. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    The woke business is  costly to investors, companies, employees and customers but obviously serves some interest which is narrow, small and political.  It’s the giant digital companies whose costs fall, large companies who feel they have to go along because they’re run by professional managers  who may in fact get paid more, have political influence, if the bottom line isn’t the most important variable can explore self serving options, and the Chinese who will be the ultimate beneficiaries.  Owners range from small to giant and from diverse holders to concentrated.  It’s not easy to know where to invest, how to recognize whose return is higher because they’re more risky or just less politically correct.  Who knows what to do?  For investors there’s gold, foreign diversity, or a lot of time exploring the question which few  have the ability or time to do.  Perhaps there is a way  smaller non woke companies can develop some financial alternatives that are more direct, more local, but when everything is so rotten how do ordinary investors know whose a crook and whose an innovator.  That’s the role specialized very smart professional investors play.  I think the solution has to be political but the Chinese will try to  ruin us while  Biden is there and the Democrats will try to steal the next elections and since both parties are dominated by folks who think that Biden, from the basement being obviously mentally impaired, got more votes than anyone in history, are now telling us the next election will be fair.  

    • #28
  29. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    GlennAmurgis (View Comment):

    Cassandro (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Do you own an index mutual fund, like a total stock market fund? The “asset manager” of that fund, like Vanguard, buys stock in all those companies for the fund. By virtue of owning the stocks in the fund, Vanguard gets to “vote” their shares every year. For some big companies, Vanguard, Fidelity, and other big fund managers are their largest shareholders, and have influence over how the companies are run. I have heard some mention of the big fund companies polling their customers on how they might vote their shares, if they owned them. When you buy a passive-index mutual fund, you essentially give your votes to the fund managers to manage on your behalf. Maybe if enough Vanguard or Fidelity customers let their interests be known, the big fund managers might take notice. In fact, I have a personal financial advisor at Vanguard, and I intend to give him a piece of my mind on “wokeness” the next time we talk, at the end of this month.

    There is a guy, who started a conservative web site, that was linked to (I think) here on Ricochet (or by one of the other many sites Ricochetti patronize) who wrote that he has also started an unwoke investment company to take BlackRock’s business. I don’t know where to find it (and of course the Ricochet search engine is not trustworthy to either find it or to determine that it’s not here). But you should at least just know that one exists and to keep your eyes open for it.

     

    The man’s name is Vivek Ramaswamy

    ‘Woke, Inc.’ Author’s Startup to Take On BlackRock – WSJ

    Strive!  That’s it.  Thanks!!

    • #29
  30. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Supposedly.  I doubt assent managers more focused on Woke than the bottom line actually are making money for the company – or making as much money as if they were focused on the bottom line. Fire ’em and find out.

    ‘Asset managers’, as being used in this discussion, refers I think to firms running investment funds that invest in public-company stock.  People invest in the fund, and then that fund invests the money on their behalf.  A company can’t fire such asset managers, because as a public company you don’t get to choose your shareholders.

    What’s going on is that fund management companies usually have the power to vote proxies for the companies that they (using Other People’s Money) are invested in, and many of them are doing such voting based on their ESG analysis.

    • #30
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