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Workforce Ecosystem Mapping: Talent for the Future

By: Susan Hileman, RED Day Communications

Everyone knows there is a critical demand for qualified workers. In 2019 Deloitte Consulting paired with MIT Sloan Review to begin discussions and research with nearly 4,800 individuals around Workforce Ecosystem Mapping. While the term is relatively obscure, it likely will become as well-known in the coming years as Value Stream Mapping is now.

Why is this important?

Across a wide area of the Commonwealth, the average age of a worker in manufacturing today is approximately 58 years old. Although more seasoned employees stay a bit longer, 5.2 years in manufacturing, the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms the medium tenure of a “typical” employee is just over 4.1 years. Additionally, as Baby Boomers continue to retire at the rate of 10,000 a day, statistically there simply are not enough people in Gen X to fill those positions.

In an October 2023 report from Morning Consult, more than half of Gen Z (57%), born 1997 to 2012, want to work in social media—or for themselves saying they’ve recognized there is really no “guaranteed job.” This was virtually unchanged in 2019 (also 57%).

So, where will we find employees? Winning the war for talent is already difficult for many employers.

While there’s no silver bullet, there are several options:

  • Start by evaluating your Workplace Culture and Policies & Practices.

  • Create Career Pathways and Employee Succession Plans to identify training and development to help new hires be effective.

  • Conduct a walk-thru of your facility by a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in Automation.

These are all a part of the answer, as is the Workforce Ecosystem Mapping (WEcoSM). It’s simply another tool for the toolbox.

Defining "workforce ecosystem mapping" means a company works to identify all the human resources and talent that make it run successfully. This includes your full-time and part-time employees, as well as consultants, gig workers, temp agencies, freelancers, trainers, and outsourced agencies (such as marketing, accounting, shipping, etc.) - all of which create value for your organization. They may not be full-time or even part-time employees, but they are all human resources that make your organization work effectively.

Data from the 2023 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey, reveals the top two drivers to optimize a workforce ecosystem: The employer’s ability to:

  • Meet the current demand they have (46%)

  • Provide the agility they need for the future (36%)


Beginning in the Northwest and North Central PA Regions, the SEWN program has worked to identify nine manufacturers to begin a Pilot program. Companies will use the concept of WEcoSM but scale it down—with the most important outcome being the ability to work with every interested company to provide value. It’s our job to ensure you understand the process, have the data needed to see gaps, and help map out a plan for your company or department to meet the workforce needs of the future.


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