Fast Food Struggling to Find Workers

Although unemployment applications were still above 500,000 per week at the start of May 2021, a significant labor shortage was developing in the economy. Several fast-food chains, including Subway and McDonalds, were forced to close dining rooms, cut hours, and ask their workers to push themselves even harder.

Over 40% of small business owners say that they have job openings today that they cannot fill. The industries with entry-level positions tend to struggle the most because unemployment and stimulus have had influences on the job market.

It’s caused some franchisees to make the rare move of cutting late-night service and breakfast.

What Is This Issue Doing to the Workers?

The labor shortage is putting more pressure on the existing workers to do more tasks or work longer hours. This issue is resulting in more mistakes, burnout, and resignations. Managers are covering more shifts because there aren’t enough people to cover everything, creating sleep disruptions that impact the overall quality even more.

It’s not unusual to have people working multiple 16-hour days in some communities.

Customers are also feeling the pinch of these worker shortages throughout the fast-food industry. It’s resulting in longer wait times and more mistakes, which turns into higher complaint numbers.

Analysts say that the stimulus and unemployment reasoning is only a scapegoat for industry-wide problems. Restaurants face higher rates of assault on the job, sexual harassment, and below-average wages.

With businesses outside of the fast-food industry offering $15 per hour guaranteed, it’s easy to leave the $11 per hour behind – especially if there is less consumer abuse.

When you add the fear element of COVID-19 exposures to that equation, there’s no incentive to work in the fast-food industry. That means chains will be forced to pay workers and managers more to compete with other community businesses.

How Electric Cars Threatens Over 800,000 Auto Workers

German ingenuity is responsible for the modern automobile industry. Their work on the combustion engine has led to our ability to drive across continents with comfort and speed.

But the world is changing, and so too is the automobile industry. As the world transitions to electric cars, over 800,000 auto workers in Germany are wondering where their future fits in with this updated vision of transportation.

BMW Plans to Eliminate Numerous Design Options

After experiencing a 10% slump in profits, BMW has laid out a plan that will impact thousands of workers. Beginning in 2021, the automaker plans to cut up to 50% of its drivetrain options for new models. Billions are being spent on efficiency campaigns so that the transition to electric vehicles isn’t as challenging.

The only component of the industry being left behind are the workers. As of 2019, only about 30% of BMW’s workforce has received training on handling electric vehicles.

Battery cells are the most expensive component in this new approach to making automobiles. Even the manufacturers that make electric cars today put together their own battery packs, but they outsource cell assembly to someone else.

Producing battery packs is very different than the work needed to assemble an engine. Robots perform the diagnostics and do the cleaning before putting cells into their metal casing. As automation continues to increase, the number of available positions for workers keeps decreasing.

What Is Driving the Change of Emphasis in Germany?

Germany has been at the forefront of climate change leadership, but it is the global effort to create a post-combustion world that is forcing companies like BMW to look at how they structure factory-based jobs.

China is the largest market in the world for electric vehicles today. They are using a mix of subsidies and robust regulations to force automakers to produce cars that run on batteries and customers to drive them.

Europe is tightening the targets set in place for carbon dioxide reduction across the planet. This action is causing Volkswagen to accelerate its emphasis on electric cars, with the expectation that this category will represent 40% of sales by 2030. Three plants in Germany are already set to retool to only make battery-powered cars.

Workers already see the number of available jobs slipping away as efficiency gains and automation has changed the industry in recent years. Over 75,000 jobs related to transmissions and engines are expected to be obsolete within a decade, and electrification in the auto industry will only create about 25,000 new positions.

What can people do to fight these changes? Workers can train to be around high-voltage components now so that their experience is already in place when the changeover occurs. Modernization is coming, so those that recognize the changes early will have the best chances for work in the future.