Shortage of Skilled Labor: The Document Management Factor

Many companies are experiencing a generational shift: veteran colleagues are beginning their well-deserved retirement years as young professionals take their places. But young professionals are rare, and becoming ever rarer. Companies that want to attract them need to offer them the right working conditions.


Shortages in Almost 140 Industries

The Cologne Institute for Economic Research discovered that in 2014, 139 of 615 types of professions were experiencing a shortage of skilled labor; in 55 industries, the shortage reaches the level of an acute crisis. Experts are furthermore certain that demographic shifts are causing the average age of the workforce to increase. The challenge, then, is drawing in both young and old workers at the same time.


ECM Must Cover All Users

So, what does all this have to do with document management? A lot, since it’s clear that competition to attract workers is on the rise. And whether they’re young or old: each has their own demands. Young workers, for instance, as Bitkom has already made clear, are open to digital document management. And they’re growing even more open by the year.

While last year only 15 percent of those surveyed preferred digital invoices and contracts to filing away paper documents, today fully a quarter do. To be more exact: 33 percent of 14 to 29 year-olds prefer to receive contracts and invoices as PDFs rather than on paper. In the 29 to 49 year-old group, the figure remains at 29 percent.


Intuitive Usability is a Must

Can you imagine these individuals being happy at work handling “dusty” old paper files? Hardly. And that’s not all: another trend is adding to the picture, and affecting older workers even more significantly than young ones. This trend is usability, or ease of operation. Ensuring that an application is intuitive, or at least easy to learn, is crucial for getting users accept an ECM solution.


ECM? It’s All about Quantity

Now you might be asking yourself: what about the other 75 percent? The ones who prefer to work with paper at home? There’s no study on these workers. But there’s most likely a difference, even for them, between filing away a paper invoice now and then at home, and watching dozens of invoices flutter across their desks at work every day. Even paper-lovers are likely to reach their tolerance at some point, clearing the path for introduction of an ECM.