As usual, this morning on my way into work, I listened to the St. John's Morning Show on 640AM. I caught a story about how retailers in NL are experiencing a shortage in staff, especially since many students are currently in "back to school" mode. This is no secret; all over town, you can see "help wanted" and "now hiring" signs. Apparently, this year is even worse than normal, because the number of people entering the workforce is significantly lower than the number of people leaving the workforce. The guy on the radio (I forget his name, but I'm sure you can find the podcast here) speculated that in the coming years, we are going to start seeing more and more automated customer service, similar to what you see now in self-checkouts at Dominion and the self-checkin kiosks at the airport.
I thought about this for a little while, and although I don't like the idea of having all human interaction replaced by machine interaction, if no one else wants to work in these jobs, the solution probably lies within some measure of artificial intelligence.
Then, a Facebook friend posted this job ad that she found, and I wondered if part of the reason behind recruitment difficulties here might be the attitude of some employers. While I'm sure that the hiring manager had a good reason for specifying such requirements, most likely based on his or her experiences with previous, less than motivated employees, is this really the way to address the situation? In my opinion, if you are looking for an employee with a higher level of professionalism, you (as the employer) need to exemplify that same level of professionalism. You also likely have to bust out a little more than 2 bucks above minimum wage.
Otherwise, bring on the robots.