automated warehouse

Automation is a Solution for the Current Labor Market

Automation is – A series on the challenges and opportunities in food logistics.

July 22, 2021

Challenge #1 – Labor Shortages and Volatility

The global jobs gap is expected to reach 75 million this year as employers around the world struggle to find labor post-COVID-19 (ILO, 2021).

Labor growth has fallen behind economic growth.

As the worldwide economy attempts to recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19, the number of workers actively seeking employment isn’t keeping pace (, 2021). Between the United States and the European Union, it is estimated that 12.2 million people lost their jobs in the first three quarters of 2020 (Bennett, 2021). Millions of these displaced workers are not returning to the post-pandemic workforce for several reasons, including safety concerns, childcare and wage demands. In an economy that has the momentum to recapture pre-pandemic economic highs, this labor shortage could not be happening at a more inopportune moment.

  • U.S. government preliminary jobs data for April showed that transportation and warehousing employment declined by 74,000 jobs during the month, following gains in February and March (Anthes, 2021).
  • More than half of employees globally responded to a recent survey by saying they’d quit their jobs if not given post-pandemic flexibility in hours and days (, 2021).