A- A+

How DSM Employers Can Address Talent Shortages Across Many Industries

Search for Talent Forum

May 4, 2022

During the recent 2022 Public Policy Issue Forum on the Search for Talent, Brad Anderson from AARP, Rob Denson from Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) and myself discussed strategies to address the existing talent shortages in many industries in a panel moderated by Kathy Leggett from Future Ready Iowa.

Older Workers

The pandemic saw older workers speed up their retirement, but there is an opportunity for those retirees to return to the workforce in a new way. By 2024, we will have more people over the age of 65 than we have under the age of 18. Inflation causes can push the older demographics back into the workforce. Older Americans and Iowans are well positioned to take advantage of opportunities.

Currently, 3.2% are unretiring, or returning to the workforce post-retirement. Anderson said that there is currently a debate on whether unretiring is good or bad for the economy, but he said most are doing so due to inflation and are being forced to unretire.

Education Enrollment + Employer Flexibility

It’s projected that by 2025 enrollment in higher education could decrease by 11-15%. Businesses must prepare for the decrease in this talent pool. In Iowa, 33% of high school graduates are not going on to college when 60% of the jobs in the state require more education. Denson said that getting to the people who are not graduating from college or certification programs is important. The solution is that companies need to be more flexible. Denson said work-based learning opportunities where high school students can work part-time as they go to school and learn the ropes with local organizations are a big part of tackling the issue of a decreased talent pool.

Finding Talent in a Gig Economy

The importance of collaborating with local universities and community colleges, and even high schools is paramount to overcoming challenges during the search for talent. One of the things that many professionals are seeing more of is the effect of inflation and flexibility (including remote work). Employers use several strategies to keep employees. There is value to team camaraderie and sharing your organization’s purpose with employees so they can feel like what they do at the company is meaningful. It is also important to explain benefits in detail so that employees know their entire compensation package. Good benefits may outweigh a higher salary so it is important to understand the value of the benefits being offered in order for employees to understand the impact on net or take-home pay.

Other topics discussed included the impact of retirement plans, technological advancements and how they affect different generations and more. To find out more about global talent, including Global DSM: International Talent Strategy and local services and events that the Greater Des Moines Partnership provides throughout the region, visit the global talent page.

Watch the entire webinar below:


The Partnership's Public Policy team engages with local, state and federal officials to create public policy that generates economic growth, business prosperity and talent development in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The Partnership is a nonpartisan organization.

Beth Nigut

Beth Nigut is a member of EMC's strategic leadership team, and oversees Marketing and Communications, Corporate Strategy, Human Resources and Innovation. Prior to joining EMC in 2010, Beth served as general counsel for a school district and was in private practice. She is a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE).