The Gordon Report LIVE September Edition 2020 “How COVID-19 Caused the Future of Work to Arrive Early” – Will remote work become the new norm? – Why might the length of the average workweek be cut? – Why might furloughed workers need training before coming back to work? – With 6.6 million job openings and millions unemployed, why do employers still have a hard time finding qualified workers?

For more than a decade, The Gordon Report has been a valued resource of employers, business and community leaders, as well as job seekers. It has consistently shared accurate forecasts about workforce trends and identified disruptive issues in workplace training and development. The 1st Gordon Report appeared in 2010 as an Encyclopaedia Britannica Blog. This changed in 2014 when the Gordon Report was distributed as an electronic newsletter and posted on Imperial Consulting Corporation’s website.

Beginning on September 25, The Gordon Report with Dr. Edward Gordon will stream live the Success Performance Solutions website, as well as on LinkedIn and YouTube, hosted by Ira S Wolfe and Success Performance Solutions.


Welcome, everyone to the very first live Gordon Report. Let me make a few introductions. If this is the first time you’re joining one of my webcasts, my name is Ira Wolfe. I’m the founder and Chief Googlization Officer of Success Performance Solutions. I am joined today by the author of The Gordon Report, Dr. Edward Gordon. We’re going to be doing this on a monthly basis.

Dr. Gordon has been publishing the Gordon Report for over a decade. We’ll go through a little bit of background on that. Many of you might have been receiving it. If not, this is how you’re going to be getting it in the future. Ed has been keeping me and hundreds of other people, probably thousands of other people, updated on workforce and workplace trends, especially when it comes to the future of jobs and more specifically, the future of job skills.

His most recent book on the future of work and Jobs is Future Jobs. So welcome to the Gordon Report, Ed and and welcome to all of you.

I’m happy to talk to you online. We’ll still probably issue some emails regarding jobs in the future, but Ira was kind enough to organize this and we’ll try to do this every month on current hot topics in the employment arena.

And I’m sure we won’t have any shortage of those specially with an election coming up. We won’t go into the politics of it, but we’ll we’ll talk about what some of the implications of that are. Before we dive into the report, let me talk about a couple of things here. I have a couple of opening comments. There are quite a few people watching Googlization nation. Thank you!

If you want to get updates about things like the Gordon Report, you can join for free at On Tuesday I’m doing a webcast with Scott McKenzie. And this relates to what we’re talking about today, about growing your talent, developing leaders. And we’re going to talk about online learning. And if I can find where I put that link here, I can give you the link to sign up on. On Tuesday at three p.m., we’re going to be talking about reskilling and upskilling your labor forces. Your workforce is using online courses, microlearning. We’ve got 2600 different courses and business skills, software skills, leadership, customer service, sales, team building, HQ, emotional intelligence, you name it. We got it. And anyone who attends will also get a free two-week trial to be able to try some of those courses and see if it’s a good fit for your workplace.

But we’re here today to talk about The Gordon Report. So let me flip some of the slides out of the way. OK, there we go. We have our faces again, a lot of buttons and whistles to turn on and off, and I’ve got four screens up here trying to monitor also hopefully the comments will come in through us. If you’re on LinkedIn or Facebook, you can make comments there.

I’m trying to monitor the chat. So if you see me looking away, I’m not checking my text messages or phone calls. I’ve got multiple screens here and I’m trying to keep tabs on everybody. So if you do have any questions or comments for Ed or me about what we’re talking about today, we’ll just again post them on Facebook or LinkedIn or LinkedIn as well. And we will try to get to those. If not, we promise we will get back to you.

So let’s get started on the topic of this report. If you were putting this into text, the topic of this report is going to be “how COVID-19 caused the future of work to arrive early,” to accelerate. It’s what I’ve been saying all along – you, me, and thousands of other futurists too. Fortunately or unfortunately, we were right. All these changes just happened a lot faster than we expected. So let’s start with remote work.

Right, right. Well, remote work. Let’s talk about it now. Remote work was introduced a while ago and it was quite popular. But then a lot of management people started pulling people back into the office. And now whammo, you know, in 2012, 39 percent were home workers. In 2016, 43 percent, and then COVID hit and that way up to 62 percent are working at home. Now there’s a lot of confusion.

One of the big issues just today the Financial Times was reporting how the city of London is scrapping their plans for people to return to the office, mainly because the COVID infection rate has jumped so dramatically in the London area that the government now has ordered everyone to stay home. But what are the pros and cons of this and long term? Well, first of all, the biggest selling point is not commuting. Hey, halleluja.

You don’t have to jam on a train or try to get your car through the freeway or expressway and waste all this time. More family time. You do work when you want. The noise and the formality of an office is gone now. The child-rearing, child care possibilities are changed. A shorter work. Well, we’ll talk more about that. Some say we’re more productive, quieter environment. Sick days have plummeted. So there’s an endless number of things we could talk about as to why this is working out.

Great. But then there are some problems with it. Some people find it’s easier to separate work from home. If you go to the office and you come home and you don’t work. Human needs for social interaction. Well, there’s certainly proximity for collaboration and innovation and an office that’s harder. You can achieve it. Sure, you can achieve on Zoom. And these other devices. But there’s the whole issue of social interaction is important to many people. There are fewer distractions depending on the office environment, depending on your working space, a more opportunity for formal, informal learning from others, and career development in your office.

Also, too, let’s talk about employment security promotion, pay raises. Well, a lot of people fail. If you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. And if you’re not in the office, you may be overlooked. And then there’s the big issue of self-discipline in the office environment. Look, I’ve run a virtual business for many, many decades. I am very disciplined. I’ve written a lot of books. I do a lot of consulting work this way, setting up programs.

I work self-discipline, but I’m a very self-disciplined individual and I love what I do. That’s not true for a lot of people and I have a very long attention span. That’s also not true for a lot of people. And then also to guess what, people become lonely working at home all by themselves. Yahoo! Is a good example of this because they started they said everyone is going to work at home and now they have changed their mind and they’re dragging people back into the office.

So this is what I see shaping up for the future. I think that there will be a good percentage of people are going to work at home. But I think it’s a. Blown that companies are going to go one hundred percent. The Wall Street Journal just talked to a lot of corporate leaders about this and Tim Cook, James Diamond, Larry Fink from BlackRock and many others, almost all of them said that they saw it happening, but they didn’t think it was they were going to become 100 percent virtual.

So I think part of it’s the kind of work you do, the company, the culture, and that’s the other problem. Where will the culture go with a company if it’s 100 percent at home? So, I think it will be a mixture rather than one hundred percent.

So, look, let me ask you a question here. And again, if anybody else has questions, it looks like our comments are working. So if you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube, please post your questions there and make a comment. Some of the struggle and we’ve seen this already, although that it’s six months from now when everybody was sent home and the first month or two was rather rough, people getting online, learning how to use zoom, making these calls, getting the efficiency and even carving out a workspace in their apartment or their home and not sharing with other family members.

Five family members, sharing a kitchen table or an ironing board so that they were working right now. But we’ve adapted. I mean, people have adapted and they figured it out and now there are no people. So is part of the challenge still that companies and individuals haven’t figured out how to work remotely. It’s like this just isn’t working? Well, just because it’s not working is that’s not necessarily a positive sign for your organization to say, hey, we’re eventually going to pull everybody back to work because just because you’re inefficient and you can’t figure it out doesn’t mean it’s the right trajectory to trajectory that we’re in your trajectory going forward.

Part of it. You bring up the issue, though. The workspace is very important. A lot of people can’t find a dedicated workspace where they can plop all their electronics and their files and business materials.

That’s why real estate is booming. Right?

I mean, look, I’m sitting in a library. This is my workspace. I close the door. I have complete quiet when I need it. All right. That’s part of it. Now, another thing, though, how many zoom how many zoom or GoToMeeting programs have you been on lately? A lot of people are getting weekly. Well, right. That’s the problem. Now, of course, you could say, well, how many useless meetings that I attend in an office where I just sat there all day in meetings and didn’t get any work done.

So, I mean, I attended a lot of meetings because I volunteered a lot. Yeah. And the travel it would take me I used to go to a committee meeting at eight o’clock in the morning and I had to leave here because the traffic at 7:00 and I didn’t get back until 10:00. That’s 3 hours. And the meetings weren’t always productive and half the other people didn’t show up.

Now I have consultants that work with me who are very, very good at having to go to meetings, type coaching sessions with people, with people scattered all over the United States working for a large organization to help them to come together and collaborate and make decisions. I think part of it depends on the personalities of the people that you’re working with there and their willingness to openly discuss things. Could I actually use the word honesty? I think that’s even more important on this type of a connection, because, look, you are in right now listening to me and you’re in New York or California or Texas or wherever if you don’t trust me, that the information I’m giving you is the best that I can as an expert in this field of human development. Then why bother participating? So I think this accentuates the need for people to be serious about what they say and do and the language they use and the information that they’re using. And for some people, they hate this. Some people hate negotiating over a telephone. Some people hate negotiating face to face.

So part of it is personality-driven. And that’s why I think a combination of what I’d rather do, a keynote to a conference of three hundred people this way or what I’d rather do it in person. I’ll tell you right now, I’d rather do it in person. Why? I can see the audience’s reaction better. I can judge their mood better. I can tell my jokes better since I can hear if I get any reaction. So there are various ways and tools to use this and use it.

Well, I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it, but I am saying that it’s like every other business option. It is. This is not the universal panacea that’s going to reinvent American business. And for those people that are trying to sell the software, hardware, and everything else to convince you to do it, beware of that.

So we got we want to keep everybody’s attention. We know you have a long attention span. I got the attention span of a gnat.

So so we’ll try to do the average here. And it was another really interesting question that you were going to talk about. That was about the length of the average workweek? Because you mentioned that a little bit. But work remotely. It’s a seven day. It’s become a seven-day workweek. And we certainly have, although a lot of the challenges that were never really turned off. But then there were also reports that people were actually focused on work less, but getting more done.

It’s a question of productivity. So it’s not a question of quantity, the question of quality. So can you get your work done in six hours rather than eight hours every day when you do your emails now, or do you wait until after five o’clock at night, and then you do all your emails? So it’s partly your efficiency, your productivity, and your creativity. I work. Basically from 9:00 to 5:00, but do I get calls later? Yes, I do get calls later, but basically, it’s a nine to five job and I take the time off for lunch.

I am very driven. I do have a driven personality or do you get easily distracted? These are self-disciplinary issues and some companies will find that they have individuals who can get their work done shorter and over in Europe, they’re trying to organize this through their unions to cut it to a four day work week that they’ve talked we’ve talked about for a long time. And a large part of it, in the end, is going to depend on how well you can manage your people and how manageable and just self-discipline they are to do it.

Productivity is not something that you turn it on, on and off, like a faucet. Sometimes I get some of my best ideas in my sleep, believe it or not. I’m an author and supposedly I’m a futurist and all that nonsense. So but again, I say to you, what kind of personality you have? Are you laid back?

Are you driven? Do you want to push yourself hard so you can get everything done and you have a boss that will accept that are, you know, useless hours in the office? The person who hangs around the office is going to get promoted longer. I think that’s stupid. But a lot of managers, I’m afraid, look at it that way. So I’m all in favor of a shorter work week and a shorter workday. I have no problem with that.

If you get the job done and do it well, the quality of work. And right now, in all honesty, folks, productivity in America stinks right now. All right. All this computerized stuff that we use, we find out a lot of people can’t really use it in a way that’s innovative and is increasing sales or improving products. There’s been a big lag in productivity. And part of the problem is we’re not using it right. And the thinking skills people are applying to it are inadequate. I could go on and on about that. Well, I’ll stop right now.

Ira We probably can spend another 45 minutes or an hour or days, you and I, talking about this. But I would also go back to my original question about productivity, though. Are is this productivity stink only because a lot of people got caught off guard. Some of these skills that they had before should have been improved and they should be better with technology right now.

Now, that leads us into the next area that we like to talk about before the end of our program.

So, look, we got six point six million vacant jobs across the United States right now. Most of those are skilled jobs that require very specific education and knowledge skill sets to use. Part of it is the technology, like all of us learning to better use this technology to do this program with Ira, with its three computers going at once. And I’m sitting here with my specialized lighting and all this other stuff that I’ve organized.

All right. That’s part of it. But that’s not really the tough part of it. Look, American business overall right now spends less than 20 percent annually that our major international competitors spend on job training and workplace development, less than 20 percent. So what does that mean? Well, we got a lot of people right now that have been laid off temporarily, I hope they’re going to go back to work. Have things changed? Yes. How many new job training programs are we starting?

Some. I noticed that. But I do notice, and I’m very happy to tell you that I start seeing now from the major think tanks and major consulting firms. They’re finally recognizing the trend that I’ve been working on for the last 20 years. We need more people to learn how to learn, we need better training and job training and we’re simply not doing it, not doing enough of it. Technical training, as well as leadership training as well as sales training, you name it.

We need more of it and we’re not doing it. Why? Well, cost too much money. The person will quit if I train them. Well, I guess it’s part of it is what’s the overall culture of your organization? Is it a learning organization or is it a bottom-line organization interested in squeezing out the maximum profit in the shortest time possible? And right now we’re entering an era where skills shortages are going to become chronic, and every business sector and I’m working on a major report on this will come out next year.

It’s called Job Shock. And it’s going to be shocking because right now we have shortages of people and it’s going to get worse. Some of you have read my books, Future Jobs, et cetera. You want to know more about that on our website, which is flash from the bottom of the screen. Email me. You know you can even call me. I’m going to give you my phone number. Oh, isn’t that terrible? Ed, you’re going to.

You can call me here in Chicago. Yeah, but just don’t call me at nine o’clock in the morning on the East Coast because I might not answer. But my point is. Yeah, I mean, right now this is a big factor and businesses need to pick up the fact that workers’ skills are eroding right now and we need to do a better job in job training.

And right now, the number one problem that you and HR have, and this is Ira bailiwick and recruiting is recruiting, you are having a hard time finding people that fit the skill needs of your company. Well, I want to ask you, if you last maybe five of those skill needs, are you going to do job training to help them pick that up or are you just going to keep shuffling more paper? How many people you want to interview for a position?

How long do you want to keep that position empty? And in fact, maybe you have positions you have never been able to fill and you stopped even looking for them. This isn’t easy. This is not going into this. We have 10.5 million empty jobs. And I’m predicting by 2022 we may have up to 14 million vacant jobs around the United States due to demographic problems. But the biggest one, in my opinion, is a lack of job training.

And there are others. But we’re going to run out of time soon. So I’ll keep my big mouth shut. But if I think I’ve given you enough to talk to think about and respond to. So what do you think, Ira?

I’ve got something scrolling across the bottom of the screen and you can actually go up to my website, Success Performance Solutions, just on the search, enter employability rather than trying to retype this whole thing. And Ed and I had done a four-part series which goes into a lot of the background, the history and some of some of the other projections that are coming up from May through August.

We had that all the recordings, all the videos are up on my website. You can also go to the YouTube channel there. And we talked about the future of employability in different stages. And then also what you can do in your local communities through Ed’s RETAIN model. That’s there as well and how to create a RETAIN. And that’s going to be absolutely necessary. And then can see the link, by the way, is that webinar that I’m doing next week with Scott McKenzie. We’ll be talking about the online library of 2600 courses. There’s actually more than that now, but more than twenty-six hundred courses. A lot of the soft skills that we worry about those people not having. Everything from emotional intelligence to leadership management, supervisory skills, customer service, and even software skills, how to use Word and Excel, and, of course, how to work and manage remotely. There’s actually a whole series of how to present yourself and how to present online and some of the technical aspects of setting up your workplace for remote work and social distancing.

Go up and definitely look at the four-part series that I’ve done. And you know what? What we do at Imperial Consulting is we work with companies in order to improve their talent management. And we also work with regions around the country in order to improve the system so that you end up having a broader and bigger audience to recruit from. But that means investing not only in current worker training but also getting involved in some form of career education in elementary and secondary schools.

In our last webinar, we have a number of people who had set up these RETAINS, these regional talent innovation networks, which are public-private partnerships, where business communities, families, schools, nonprofits, and local government, they have a partnership where they all are investing time, talent and treasure to improve the system. This is not overthrowing anything. This is trying to improve what you have so that you have a bigger talent pool now and in the future.

And we’ll be issuing, we hope, next February after the election and the inauguration and COVID will be someone I hope under control. A major white paper on Job Shock, solving the employment meltdown by 2030, which right now looks like it’s pretty certain along the lines of my other books, 2010 Meltdown, Solving the Global Talent Showdown, Future Jobs and look at our website. All those books are available and you will see the many, many organizations over the past decades that Imperial has helped in trying to improve their talent.

And you can get to those books and some of the other information that Ed has. And also when the white paper comes out, I’m sure it’ll be there. We’ll have another discussion and webcast and but for now, you can get it at ImperialCorp.Com.

I believe Jim’s a friend of yours.

Jim is the head of the workforce board. He’s the executive director in Tallahassee, Florida. And I’ve worked with Jim in Indiana and Illinois and now in Florida to basically establish RETAIN-like local organizations that go under many brand names. And we support them all over the country and we get requests from them to help them get more, particularly businesses and parents engaged in this effort. Education starts at home. Encouraging a student to study is as important as encouraging them to go out and play football or basketball or whatever. And for life, it’s even more important because they’re going to need those skills to work for you.

I know there’s been a lot of conversation. We’re going to have to cut it off here shortly. But there’s been a lot of conversation about what Jim brought up of businesses, basically, universities, colleges, communities, economic development, have all been trying to align this. And one of the challenges is and I was on two calls yesterday, 2roundtables and it was very clear that most businesses aren’t sure what skills that they need. They need the skills they’re looking for today? To hire somebody, but within six months that might be dated and when you’re looking at a for one year or two years for your curriculum or longer to get somebody to develop those skills by the time those skills develop, if you’re just looking at today, then that doesn’t solve the problem. So we’re sort of living in the present and in the future simultaneously.

And the sad part is in the 80s and 90s, many companies bulked up their training departments and had people to design learning programs and buy stuff from vendors to cope with these constant changes. Then the mid-90s, until now, many companies have cut way, way, way, way back, and now they’re caught flat-footed. So so we’re going to cut off there. I’ll have you do a final word, but what is one of those challenges was always expensive and time that we brought somebody in. It was going to cost us X number of dollars per person or thousands of dollars. And then we had to take people off the lines and retrain them and do that.

Fortunately, we’ve learned how to educate adults on the fly. So now we have a microlearning adult learning. And again, that’s not replacing education, but it’s talking about how do we do on the job skills training when people need it or at a refresher. So this microlearning, the 7 to 10-minute videos that are available that people can pull up on their smartphone and go, how do I do that? Again, they’re able to do that.

The other thing is and just to give somebody a heads up, 2600 different courses to someone, even a small business. Twenty-six different courses from leadership to training on Word for as low as $35 dollars a year per person, and they can get 2600 different courses and track progress and certify workers with certificates and badges.

That’s it. Easy start. No one has an excuse anymore. It doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars. You don’t have to pull people off the line for days at a time. You don’t have to bring in trainers and speakers for five thousand dollars apiece. Fortunately, we do have this technology. So it’s a matter of how do we use leverage technology to solve some of the problems that Ed and I were talking about, that you brought up. Any final closing words, Ed?

I’ll close with Robert Galvin, who in the 80s and 90s ran Motorola here in Chicago. Motorola University invested 2500 dollars a year in educating every one of its employees. I asked him, well, what does it cost Motorola? He said, it doesn’t cost me a dime because of the increased productivity that we get from those workers, whether as blended learning, classroom learning, learning offsite, online, it results in more productivity and innovation for Motorola.

Level that at your corporate leaders. The long term, not just the short term, is what’s important. Human capital is the most important asset in your company, whether you’re a tiny business, a community college, or you’re a large corporation. Everyone now has many more training options and the budget to do it. So think about it carefully and thank you.

Yes, thank you! Our first live Gordon Report and we’ll have many more. So stay tuned. We haven’t talked about this, but we are going to try to get it on everybody’s calendar. We’re recording now this fourth Friday of the month at noon. In order to get future notices, one of the best ways will be you can follow Ed or me and on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube all over the place, or you can join Googlization Nation. Just go to Googlization nation dot com. All we need is the first name in your email and you will get notices when this comes up. There’s the link for our webinar next week. If you belong to Googlization Nation, you’ll get that again. And Ed’s website too.

if you are getting the Gordon Report now, we will be sending you notices on this and there will probably be future email Gordon reports coming out to you. But we thought inaugurating this today would attract even a bigger audience. So thanks for listening.

We’ll continue this conversation on Tuesday with Grow Your Talent, Develop Leaders. We’re going to talk about reskilling and upskilling, using online microlearning. You can get the link right there. Stay safe, everyone. We’re entering the flu season now. So hopefully people will wear masks, keep safe distances, and do the right things.

Get your flu shots, too.

thanks, everyone. Take care. Stay safe.