Aging workforce – PS

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Quite by coincidence I see strategy+business reports efforts by a different industry than power utilities to wrestle with the aging workfoce problem. S&B report that the serious shortage of skilled workers in the oil industry has forced companies to find innovations, such as “digital oil fields” that gather and analyze data to transform traditionally labor-intensive operations into technology-driven environments.

To understand the origins of this challenge, see the chart below on US graduation rates for petroleum engineers to appreciate the ...

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Regulators – consumers’ friend?

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I see consumer groups are squealing that even water companies [with no excuse from rising oil prices] are asking for above-inflation price rises. Why? – because they have humbly suggested that if people want water in future, they had better replace the ancient equipment before it fails completely.

Regulators, of course, have helped consumers enormously here, pressing down on water-compay prices and ROI, and grudgingly allowing them to invest in maintaining that equipment. One UK firm estimated that the capex they ...

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Aging workforce.

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Had a call from a star student now with a major power utility. Seems they are worried about their aging workforce. Think you share this problem? – how about 50% of your staff being within 5-10 years of retiring!

This, of course, is the inevitable result of bad HR and corporate strategy going back 10-20 years – if you don’t have people with 10 years’ experience today, it’s because you didn’t hire 10 years ago [+couldn’t steal them from rivals]. Simple – ...

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Upturn thinking in a downturn

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I know I go on about how strategy professionals should have anticipated the current difficult conditions instead of piling on with unsustainable growth [especially in the banking sector’. But here’s a reminder of the opposite from strategy+business, which points out that the long-term success of companies may reflect not just how well they handle a downturn, but also their foresight in preparing for the upturn.

The article reports the efforts of a team at Lucent during 2002 to identify growth opportunities ...

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Housing recession – again!

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Shame about the housing recession both sides of the pond. Over in the US of course, this was largely created by the strategic imcompetence of banks’ whizzy sub-prime lending initiatives, though doubtless made worse by mindless economic policies. Here in the UK, blame between these two is probably more or less reversed – yes there was stupid lending, but stupid economic policy stoked up the bubble in the housing market so the burst was bigger. ...

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