August 22, 2023

How Generative AI Will Impact the Developer Shortage with Trent Cotton

Could generative AI help recruiters fill the gaps in the talent market?  

The developer community is facing a shortage of skilled workers, and the needs of the tech industry are growing. To stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive, companies must hire the best of the best. But with a shortage of talent, recruiters face a tough challenge.   

To share some perspectives on recruitment difficulties, Trent Cotton, our VP of Talent & Culture, joins this episode of the Built Right podcast. Trent explains why we’re facing such a talent shortage, what that means for businesses, and why broken HR processes are holding many companies back.  

Trent explores the growing usage of generative AI in the HR space and how that could help to patch up some of the gaps in the talent market.  

Tune in to the discussion below or keep reading for the top takeaways.  

What the talent shortage means for businesses

A report from Korn Ferry found that by 2030, there could be more than 85 million jobs left unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled people. That talent shortage could result in approximately $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues.  

The talent shortage in tech, especially in the developer space, is more than simply frustrating. It directly results in potential lost revenue. If you don’t have top talent to bring projects to life, this can dampen business growth and make you less competitive.  

Why we’re seeing a shortage of talent 

While the skills gap has often been an issue in industries such as tech, it was intensified during COVID. Many from the baby boomer generation were forced to retire and haven’t re-entered the workforce, and younger generations haven’t been trained to fill those gaps.  

Another reason companies are struggling to fill roles is because the average person changes jobs every three to four years. But tech professionals are doing this 20% more than in other fields.  

To add to this, Trent believes that most recruiting processes are “utterly broken.” It’s hard enough to get the talent, but you’ve also got to worry about regular retraining, and then because the recruitment processes are so long-winded, it takes a long time to fill a role.  

That’s why we’re seeing more HR and recruitment professionals turn to AI to help improve some of their recruitment processes.

The four problems with recruiting 

1. Everything’s a priority, which means nothing is

Recruiting groups are limited by time, focus, and energy. Whenever you’re constantly moving the needle and trying to get ahead, it’s hard to make progress in the areas that are most important. 

2. No opportunity for recruiters to identify obstacles 

Another dysfunction in recruitment teams is that there’s little space for recruiters to stop and think about what’s working and what’s not. This is essential so that you can find ways to scale what’s working well. 

3. Lack of alignment 

There’s often a lack of alignment between recruiters, hiring managers, leaders and candidates, which can often create a lot of conflict in the process. 

4. The feedback loop is broken 

It can sometimes take weeks for candidates to receive feedback – which just leaves them hanging.  

The four principles of sprint recruiting 

To combat these issues, Trent uses the sprint/agile recruiting method, which follows four principles: 

1. Address issues in two weeks and prioritize the most important roles to fill. 

2. The business defines the priority of which jobs need to be filled first. 

3. Work in progress limits to reduce the number of candidates at each stage of the process to enhance the candidate’s experience. 

4. 48-hour feedback mandate for the candidate and recruiters. 

By following these principles, it ensures that everything moves fast, everyone’s informed, and the recruitment workload is manageable.

Where generative AI could help the developer shortage 

Trent believes that the biggest impact in the job market will be on frontline workers. Anything that doesn’t necessarily need a human to do it is likely to be automated first. However, this is likely to create a surplus of unskilled workers. 

AI is also going to help streamline processes and make things more efficient – leaving companies to focus more on client engagement and retention. The same also goes for developer roles.  

If developers can leverage generative AI to replace some of the more tedious or manual tasks, they have more time to spend on upskilling, problem-solving, and more creative tasks. Any chance for developers to level up and improve their skills is going to be a huge plus for the tech industry when there’s such a shortage of skilled developers. 

What companies and industry leaders can do to protect the talent market  

1. Offer training  

With AI becoming a big focus for many tech companies, it makes sense to train people in AI. By offering training for existing and future talent, companies can remain competitive while also helping people enhance their skills.  

2. Nurture the next generation of talent 

Another way to get ahead of the curve is to start training the next generation of talent. That means starting as early as high school to help younger people get inspired and interested in the opportunities in the tech industry.  

This should encourage more people to choose it as a career path, which goes a long way in easing the talent shortage. 

3. Be open to flexible working arrangements

More and more people are working in the gig economy as freelancers. The pandemic made some people realize that they don’t want traditional employment and prefer flexibility.  

However, if your job opportunities are only focused on those who want the traditional 9-5, this could exclude talent who have a lot to offer.  

It may be time for companies to be more flexible when it comes to working arrangements to tap into this wider talent pool. Having a mix of regular employees and being open to hiring freelancers could help businesses remain competitive in the talent market.  

Hear more about the potential impact of AI on the developer shortage and tech job market in the full discussion with Trent.  

Discover how HatchWorks’ Generative-Driven Development™ can accelerate your software projects – explore our innovative approach today.

[00:00:00] Matt Paige: All right. I’m excited to be joined today by Trent Cotton Hatworks, VP of Talent and Culture, and he’s the reason we’re able to attract and retain the best talent in the industry across the Americas. He’s got deep experience and talent management, organizational development, HR tech. Data analytics, I gotta take a breath here.

[00:00:25] Matt Paige: HR process. And his even developed his own unique process to recruiting called Sprint recruiting, which frankly is just completely transformed how we recruited Hatch Works. And oh, by the way, he’s a published author, as you can see from the two book titles behind them. Sprint Recruiting, the first one, and the FutHRist coming out later this fall.

[00:00:44] Matt Paige: But welcome to the show, Trent. 

[00:00:47] Trent Cotton: Thank you. Thank you. It’s uh, a little humbling. That’s quite the introduction. I appreciate it. 

[00:00:52] Matt Paige: Yeah. Lots, lots of good stuff. And I’m sure we’ll hit on some of the, the sprint recruiting stuff in the discussion later today. But the main topic, it’s, it’s a, a meaty one. It’s a hot topic right now in the industry and it’s the tech talent shortage and how AI is gonna impact that.

[00:01:09] Matt Paige: And how do, how do, I know this is a hot topic because our blogs right now on our, our website, those are getting the most traffic. It’s talent shortage and it’s how the impact of generative AI. Those are the most trafficked right now. And in PS you can check those out on the Patchworks website. And I’d say make sure you stick around till the end.

[00:01:27] Matt Paige: We’re gonna, we’re gonna go into whether AI is actually gonna help shrink this talent shortage or make it even larger, but Trent, uh, to set the stage. Mm-hmm. Help us just kind of set the stage of what, what is the current talent shortage gap? What does the future projections look like? And kinda what’s, what’s attributing to that help, help break that down for us to kind of set the stage for today.

[00:01:49] Trent Cotton: Korn Ferry, which is a, a fairly large search firm, they have a fantastic analytic arm. Uh, it’s one of the ones that I go to just to try and get a good feel of what’s going on in the talent market. They estimate that by 2030, so not too far down the road, that 85 million jobs will go on field because of the shortage. So that, that’s a, that’s a huge number Now that’s worldwide. Um, you’re looking at about $8.5 billion, or excuse me, trillion with a t. In revenue loss and just 162 billion of that is here in the United States. So I mean, we’re, we’re, we’re going against something that is borderline unprecedented…

[00:02:36] Matt Paige: for context, the mm-hmm. I was gonna say just for context, that gap in revenue, right. Is because there’s initiatives companies wanna do and things they want to get done, but they just don’t have the talent to do ’em.

[00:02:48] Matt Paige: Right. Wow, that’s insane. 

[00:02:49] Trent Cotton: Yeah. With insane the, the competitive landscape now everything is driven by tech. So if you’re not staying ahead of the curve with the latest tech and, and making sure that something as simple as your website, your apps, your delivery systems, you know, think about Amazon, all of the different technology that’s involved, that’s what made them the behemoth that they are, they can’t keep the roles filled quick enough to be able to stay ahead of the curve, which is a direct translation over into revenue.

[00:03:15] Matt Paige: Hmm. That’s, that’s interesting. It’s really scary. Yeah. Yeah. And so we got this. 

[00:03:22] Trent Cotton: Go ahead. No, I was gonna say, and, and some of the driving things. So, I mean, that’s a, that’s a scary stat and so let’s kind of peel it back and, you know, what’s driving this and some of this has been hyper intensified since covid.

[00:03:37] Trent Cotton: So one of the first ones is the baby boomers. That was a huge generation of the workforce. A lot of them were forced to retire early in covid and they never reentered the workforce. So they reentered at, at kind of a lower skill level. So that greatened the gap that was already there. And then you have this up and coming generations that are not necessarily at that same skill level that’s furthering the gap.

[00:04:00] Trent Cotton: But then you throw technology in the constant evolution of technology and you can’t keep your workers skilled enough, fast enough to be able to evolve as quickly as, um, AI is changing the game. I mean, just think about it this time last year, were we talking about chat, G P T? No. I mean, I, I know I wasn’t, um, we weren’t looking at the impact that generative AI is going to have.

[00:04:21] Trent Cotton: There was some talk about it in theory. Now the rubber’s hit the road and now companies are looking at, you know, it, it just, in the last six or seven months, all the evolution is gone. So that, that’s just a micro vision of what’s going on in the economy and the direct impact of, of a gap that’s already huge in the talent market is just going to exacerbate the issue.

[00:04:45] Trent Cotton: And then two tech professionals, you know, the average person changes the job about three to four years, according to LinkedIn. And tech professionals change 20% more. So it’s, you know, the, the average is anywhere between a year and a half to two years. So not only do you have the gap, not only do you have all of this changing technology, then you then you gotta figure out, how do I keep these people once I get them on board?

[00:05:09] Trent Cotton: So it is, Hmm. For a lot of talent people or talent professionals, we’re fighting a battle on six or seven different fronts. So for anyone that is listening, that is a c e o, uh, go in love when your talent person, they’re exhausted. You know, we get past the pandemic. I love that all this other stuff starts happening.

[00:05:27] Trent Cotton: So, um, I usually know talent people ’cause all of us have circles under our eyes for the last three years. 

[00:05:34] Matt Paige: No. And you, and you’re deep in the industry too. That’s funny. Yeah. Go, go give your love to some talent people. They need it right now. Yeah, but it’s interesting though. It’s, it’s not like one thing, it’s like five, six different things all attributing.

[00:05:47] Matt Paige: To this talent shortage we 

[00:05:48] Trent Cotton: have right now, right? It is, it is quite the perfect storm. Um mm-hmm. Just because you can’t, you can’t deal with just one issue. So let’s go back. Yeah. Four or five years. Um, you were able to, to diagnose one particular area and go in there and fix it. Do some triage and then move on about your business.

[00:06:08] Trent Cotton: There’s no way to do triage whenever you’ve got all of this stuff that is so interconnected and interdependent and constantly changing. So just when you think you can diagnose it, it it’s very much like a virus. You know, you kind of treat the virus just as soon as you think that you have. It nipped the thing mutates, and now you’ve got something different.

[00:06:27] Trent Cotton: That’s the current state of the talent market. And then you add to that, that, that most recruiting processes, Are utterly broken. It, it’s just so you, you can’t get the talent. You have to worry about retaining the talent and then it takes too damn long for the talent to get on board because of the, the broken recruit process.

[00:06:45] Trent Cotton: So there’s a lot of things that companies are trying to do. Um, to leverage AI to help fix some of that, uh, at least from a process and engagement standpoint. Uh, some of the analytics, you know, we use a lot of, um, HR analytics to really kind of get us some sentiment analysis of what’s going on with our, um, with our team members because the, I think the difference for us versus a lot of companies that I’ve consulted or that I’ve worked with is everyone talks about, yeah, retention’s a big thing.

[00:07:15] Trent Cotton: I have never worked for a company like Hatch Works. We’re obsessed. Like we almost take it personally whenever people leave. We want to dig into why did they leave? You know, how do we make sure that no one else in the organization feels that way? And I think that speaks a lot to why we have over 98% retention in our organization.

[00:07:33] Matt Paige: Yeah. That 98% number is insane. And I do want to get to this topic around ai, but you, you hit on something that’s interesting, you know. Everybody kind of sees AI as this, you know, maybe this is the, the solution to solve all our problems. But you mentioned the process point of it and I think it’s worth noting just, you know, ’cause I’ve been amazed at how much it’s helped us, but the sprint recruiting and then we’re gonna go on a full tangent on the sprint recruiting and everything there, but just hit it at a high level.

[00:08:00] Matt Paige: ’cause it’s done so much for our organization. It’s worth noting that, you know, there, there are basic fundamentals with process that are important to have. Mm-hmm. In, in talent, recruiting anything in business, but this is especially true here. 

[00:08:14] Trent Cotton: Yeah. The, uh, so let, let’s tackle the four dysfunctions of the recruiting.

[00:08:18] Trent Cotton: I said that the, the recruiting process is broken. I’ve been in recruiting and HR for 20 years. I’ve done through Hatch Works. I’ve also done some consulting for our clients on their recruiting process. There are four constants. Uh, the first dysfunction is that everything’s a priority, which means nothing is a priority.

[00:08:35] Trent Cotton: Recruiting groups are limited by time, focus, and energy, and whenever you’re constantly moving the needle or or moving their cheese, they’re not able to make the progress that they need. Mm-hmm. The second is that there is no rhythm or opportunity for recruiters or recruiting leaders to stop and go, Hey, what’s working and what’s not, and find ways that you can scale what’s working and, and identify the obstacles and work together with the partners to overcome them.

[00:09:00] Trent Cotton: And then clients and recruiters are. Um, it’s kinda like running a daycare sometimes as a talent leader. ’cause you have the hiring manager saying, this person hit me. And then you got the recruiter saying, well, this person looked at me and there’s just this huge, uh, lack of alignment. And then the last one is the feedback loop was broken.

[00:09:19] Trent Cotton: Uh, whenever I first started this, I, I, I went through agile training, came out of it and I said, okay, there’s got to be something that I can learn from Agile and a apply to recruiting. And the first one was looking at the feedback. Um, yeah. The average amount of time that it would take for us to get feedback on candidates was two to three weeks.

[00:09:37] Trent Cotton: So there’s your four dysfunctions? Mm. We balance that in sprint or agile recruiting with the four principles. The first one, we look at things in two weeks. So if you’ve got 400 jobs, the first part of that funnel is okay. In the next two weeks, what’s realistic and what’s the most important roles that the team needs to focus on and get?

[00:09:55] Trent Cotton: That can be to mitigate risk. That could be to drive revenue. That could be to hit certain milestones within the technology sprint. The next is the business defines the priority, so we go to them and say, okay, outta those 400, you say these 20 are the most important. You have 200 points. I want you to assign a point value to those 20, and we’re gonna work them in order.

[00:10:15] Trent Cotton: The next is that we have WIP limits or work in progress limits, so we limit the number of candidates in each stage of the process because that enhances the candidate experience. It makes sure that we do not lose great candidates. It also stops this fomo that a lot of hiring managers have. If I wanna interview 25 people, Look, dude.

[00:10:32] Trent Cotton: Mm-hmm. There’s not 25 people out there. You know, we need to go and move on these top five. And the last one is that we have a 48 hour feedback mandate. Um, we present a candidate, we want 48 hours. We want feedback. Yes. No. And what this does is it provides almost like a drumbeat, it also provides us metrics.

[00:10:50] Trent Cotton: So we, I know on average, on 10 day sprint, day two, Day seven, day eight, and day 10. That’s usually whenever our offers go out. I don’t schedule meetings with my teams. I block any kind of meeting or anything that’s going to disrupt them from focus on getting those offers out the door. We’re also able to track how many candidates we can almost precisely say, if you need a full stack developer, we can get it done in 32 days.

[00:11:18] Trent Cotton: Or if you just trust a judgment and you want us to hire it for ’em and we place them on the project, we can get it done in probably about one sprint or at least maybe 15 or 16 days. Yeah. There’s not a lot of companies out there that can do that. And we move with speed because now we’re focused so intently on what is important to the company, not just working on everything.

[00:11:37] Trent Cotton: We’ve developed these pipelines of candidates that are just sitting and waiting for us to go and pluck ’em and put ’em on our project. So we’ve really been able to ship, I mean, kudos to our talent team. Uh, this time last year we were not in this space. Now we’re on the offense. We’re we’re ready to go.

[00:11:52] Trent Cotton: Yeah. 

[00:11:52] Matt Paige: I mean, you hit it. It, it changed the way we work. And I love the, the comment it’s, there is a rhythm to it. It’s like the whip and you know, my wife will tell you rhythm’s important and I’m six foot eight left-handed and two left feet, and I don’t have it. So it, it is critically important and it, it, the team has it, you can just, and it gets them excited too, so that mm-hmm.

[00:12:11] Matt Paige: You know, a little bit of a tangent, but it’s, It’s, it’s worth hitting on. Um, ’cause so many people, it’s our sauce. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Alright, so let’s get into this topic of how AI is gonna impact this talent shortage. And I think, you know, one thing to note, like AI’s been around for, for a super long time.

[00:12:31] Matt Paige: It’s nothing new in, in, like, I. Encourage folks to check out our episode with, uh, Jason Schlachter. He’s got a lot of insight on the history of AI and everything there, but what’s been interesting about this latest evolution, like you mentioned with chat gbt, these large language models, the generative aspect of it, it’s almost made it, uh, you know, it, it, it democratized it, it made it accessible to all in a lot of ways where you don’t have to be.

[00:12:59] Matt Paige: You know, in the code doing things to, to leverage it. Uh, but what’s, let’s get into kind of your perspective of how how’s this gonna impact the talent market? Uh, whether it’s, you know, does it shrink it, does it grow it? Or how does it enable people to perform better at their jobs? There’s a lot of angles.

[00:13:18] Matt Paige: We could take this, but we’d love kind of your take of, you know, this, this AI boom that’s going on right now. 

[00:13:24] Trent Cotton: Yeah, absolutely. So I think the, the greatest impact that it’s gonna have is, is some of the frontline workers. I think there’s going to be a lot of, um, A lot of intense look by organizations to say, okay, what can AI do that we, we don’t necessarily need a human to do?

[00:13:40] Trent Cotton: There’s gonna be also, so that that’s kind of the first major impact there, so that that’s not gonna create a skill gap that’s actually gonna create a surplus of un unskilled workers, which is. Again, this is just part of that whole big trifecta that we’re dealing with. But then if you move a little bit upstream, there are gonna be jobs that are highly impacted, that are very manual in process, that ai, um, or even, you know, some of the machine learning, some of all, all of the different technology impacts are gonna look and make.

[00:14:09] Trent Cotton: How can we do this in a more streamlined fashion, uh, more efficient with a focus on client engagement and client retention. I think that’s gonna be one of the very interesting things because you know, whenever you have these manual processes, you don’t have analytics on the background, uh, on the backend companies now, especially since Covid are so.

[00:14:29] Trent Cotton: Obsessed with what is the data telling us? I know in HR we are, um, what is the data telling us and how do we make sure that we stay ahead of the curve? That, that, that’s going to be one of the things that companies go, okay, we, we’ve got to invest in this. So there’s, there’s going to be opportunities for a lot of workers to be able to learn some of these processes.

[00:14:48] Trent Cotton: Maybe not from a technology standpoint. Mm-hmm. But how do they actually. Leverage AI as a partner versus it’s an us versus them. Yeah. And I think this is, this is the part that’s gonna be really exciting for the right part of the workforce that sees this as an opportunity to level up their skills and they go into it with an open mindset.

[00:15:08] Trent Cotton: Um, I always use the example of, um, Because I get asked in, in HR a lot, you know, is, is HR gonna be replaced by ai? And the answer is no, it’s not. Yeah. Well, some of it, yes. Um, I look at AI almost like Ironman. So Rob Stark, fantastic guy, wonderful business guy. Mm-hmm. Billionaire, sexy, charming, all, I mean, he’s a badass all by himself.

[00:15:31] Trent Cotton: You, you put him along with his AI in Jasper and you put the suit on. Now he’s a superhero and if you watch, he’s taking in all this data that AI is able to process incredibly quickly, but he’s still making the decision. I. On whatever action he’s going to do. So I think that the more that that we as talent professionals and leaders in the organizations can look at our workforce and go, how do we take our, our Rob Starks, you know, that are not Rob Stark, that’s Game of Thrones.

[00:16:00] Trent Cotton: I. Oh my gosh. Tony Stark. There we go. Tony Stark. 

[00:16:02] Matt Paige: Yeah. This is like, we’re mixed in, uh, genres here. Like, 

[00:16:06] Trent Cotton: yeah. So now everybody knows I’m one of those kind of nerds and I, I like Game of Thrones and man, um, but you take your, who, who are your Tony Starks and how can we make them better by pairing them up with something that’s going to, um, just enhance their delivery or enhance their, their job skills.

[00:16:22] Trent Cotton: But then you have the whole thing with tech. So it’s, it’s really interesting. Um, yeah. I was talking to a, a professional not too long ago, and, and they were frustrated because they were trying to get some, some roles filled for developers, and the managers were getting so ticked because they were doing like an assessment.

[00:16:38] Trent Cotton: And a couple of the people were using chat G p T to kind of help with some of the basic code. And then they were focused on like the more sexy stuff and the manager was disqualifying them. And to me that that’s the antithesis, that that’s, that’s what tech people should be using ai. What’s the mundane, non-value add, but critical and necessary parts of this coding or, or whatever it is, let AI do that so that way they can work on some of the things that are.

[00:17:06] Trent Cotton: More impactful. 

[00:17:07] Matt Paige: Yeah, that’s, I mean, that’s the whole point around our, our built right method at Patchworks is how do you enable, and I love that co-pilot mindset. ’cause that’s what it is, right? It’s, it’s not gonna take over, it’s gonna make, uh, the folks leveraging it better. Mm-hmm. I think one interesting point though that I’ve heard from some, it’s like, you know, you can’t over rely on it to the extent of if you have a bad developer, You give them AI that could actually make a more tanked mess.

[00:17:35] Matt Paige: Mm-hmm. Versus you have skilled developers leveraging it. I love that idea of it gets rid of the mundane, that’s like the first Yes. Go at this. Um, but it’s, it’s like the co-pilot example. You know, I think Tesla has this, where if you’re in co-pilot mode, it forces you to touch the steering wheel every so often.

[00:17:52] Matt Paige: So you don’t just go completely, you know. Yeah, mindless. And same thing with flying a plane, same kind. Uh mm-hmm. You know, analogy could be applied to technology. 

[00:18:02] Trent Cotton: But I do think that this is going to force companies to, and, and we’ve been looking at this since Covid, how do you mm-hmm. Reskill, upskill and redeploy your workforce.

[00:18:14] Trent Cotton: Yeah. I think now with, with some of the intensity that’s coming driven by artificial intelligence, that is going to, that’s really gonna kind of come to the forefront. I know that. Organization, we’re talking about it. We, um, yeah, we give all of our employees a, a $2,000 a year training budget to use to get certifications or, you know, whatever they want to learn to enable them to be even more productive in an area of interest.

[00:18:39] Trent Cotton: And so, you know, we’re, we’re looking at what are some AI courses, what are some AI certifications that we can offer to our, our employees to make sure that they’re staying ahead of the game. Um, so not just to benefit them, but also to benefit our clients. You know, we want to be that trusted partner, not just someone that you come to and say, Hey, I need three or four software developers in the DevOps.

[00:19:02] Trent Cotton: You know, we wanna be able to come in and add a level of knowledge and acumen that is unparalleled to anybody else in the market. Yeah. 

[00:19:10] Matt Paige: And I think too, the, the other interesting point, and you hit on it, it’s like so many folks are looking externally for this talent when you have this like, workforce sitting there.

[00:19:20] Matt Paige: Yeah. That, that if you give some, you know, love and care to, in terms of upskilling them, you can help evolve them. So that that’s, that’s a great point and a big piece that’s missed a lot I think with a lot of organizations. 

[00:19:33] Trent Cotton: Yeah. And there’s actually, uh, some, there’s a lot of government funding that’s going into boot camps.

[00:19:38] Trent Cotton: Mm-hmm. They’re looking at, you know, some of these low to moderate income.

[00:19:49] Trent Cotton: So there’s boot camps out there that will teach you, uh, some of the basics of, of coding, software development, ai and some of this. So a lot of companies are actually being forced to shift the educational requirements and look more at non-traditional approaches. So it, it’s. It has had a very far reaching and very deep impact on the talent strategy for most companies in the us.

[00:20:13] Matt Paige: Yeah, no, that’s, that’s a great point. So next thing I wanna get into, um, you know, what, what’s your take here? Is, is ai this new evolution with ai, is it going to close this talenting gap or does it make it. Wider, like maybe what’s your take there? Or maybe there’s alternate, you know, parallel universes where it could be the case on that size.

[00:20:36] Trent Cotton: Yeah. It’s prefer more to parallel. Yeah. It, it’s definitely in, um, you know, reference another movie, kind of the metric’s like which pillar are we gonna take here? Uh, and it’s, and it’s a lot of what we’ve been talking about. Do we use this as an opportunity to re-skill some of those that may be replaced by AI or their jobs change as a result of implementing some type of AI practices?

[00:20:58] Trent Cotton: If we do, then I think that that’s gonna shorten. The gap, um, and, and be able to tap into a huge force. And it’s actually gonna help break some of the, the, the poverty cycles because a lot of these frontline workers, you know, they, they just kind of stay in that mode. If we’re able to go in and, and take them and give them a skill that’s actually applicable in the new market, I think that’s gonna help us economically.

[00:21:20] Trent Cotton: But it’s also gonna help from, from a talent gap. If we do not, that gap is going to continue to exponentially, um, Just grow and it’s, it’s terrifying, uh, looking at, I mean, 85 million jobs by 2030. That’s, that’s mind boggling, staggering. Um, I mean that, that’s, that’s more jobs than were added in. I can’t even think of how many years that, that, that we’re just going to lose in the blip of mm-hmm.

[00:21:49] Trent Cotton: You know, a decade or two decades. Yeah. That’s, 

[00:21:52] Matt Paige: that’s crazy. It’s, I, I wanna get your take here. So there’s Andreessen Horowitz, you know, he wrote the. Seminal article of why software’s eating the world and he has this new one out, why AI will save the world. And just to call out a couple points, he has these different AI risk he goes through.

[00:22:10] Matt Paige: Mm-hmm. And I encourage anybody to check this out. Super interesting read here, but it is no point. Number three is will AI take all our jobs? And his perspective is, you know, every new major technology has led to more jobs, higher wages throughout history. Uh, with each wave accompanied with a panic of, you know, this time is different, it’s gonna steal all our jobs and everything.

[00:22:34] Matt Paige: Uh, and he gets into this point that, you know, that that doesn’t necessarily happen. Uh, and then he goes on to call out. You know, if we’re allowed to develop and proliferate throughout the economy, this new kind of evolution with ai, it may actually cause the most dramatic and sustained economic boom of all time.

[00:22:54] Matt Paige: With corresponding like record, job and wage growth. Um, but it’s, it’s interesting point. And, and the last thing I’ll hit on and let’s, let’s chat there. I’m curious to get your take, but he talks about this lump of labor fallacy, which is the notion that we have this fixed amount of labor. To be done. It’s like supply and demand side.

[00:23:12] Matt Paige: Mm-hmm. Um, and either humans are gonna do it or machines are gonna do it, but the fallacy comes into play. He goes on in the article to state that, uh, when you have AI and things like that, making it cheaper to. To do things. It increases purchasing power of people. People have new demands and wishes and all these things, which creates all new types of, uh, businesses and verticals and industries and all these things.

[00:23:41] Matt Paige: And like one point he mentions from Milton Friedman. Humans wants and needs are endless. Like, it’s just kind of an interesting point, but like what’s, what’s your take there on Andreessen Horowitz’s, you know, kind of perspective? Uh, I think it’s a unique one. Um, what, what’s, what’s your perspective there?

[00:24:00] Trent Cotton: Um, so I’m, I’m gonna get to an answer. Um, so I’m gonna equate it to something like the, the economic downturn. So let’s, let’s go back and look at 2008 through let’s 2011, okay? Mm-hmm. Banks failed. Massive, massive recession setback. People are outta jobs. Mm-hmm. Darkest of times you would think. But look at what came out of that prior to 2008 2010.

[00:24:27] Trent Cotton: Did we know that we needed an Uber? Do we know that we could have a social network that, you know, people could go and actually create their online business and be an influencer and make money from that. Mm-hmm. So, I, I agree with what he’s saying that, that this new technology will spawn. An an economy or, or facets of the economy that, that we don’t know that we need yet because we haven’t really, the need has not been created.

[00:24:54] Trent Cotton: So I, I do agree with that from a, from a talent perspective, it’s gonna be really interesting to see. Um, that sounds really, really exciting. Of new, new economic avenues, new job opportunities, new job growth, but I’m a little concerned that we can’t fill the damn jobs that we have now. How are we gonna fill some of these new ones out there?

[00:25:13] Trent Cotton: So, yeah. Does it make it worse? Right. Right, right. So there’s like the personal side of me that gets really excited going, oh, I wonder what’s next. And then the talent part of me kicks in and goes, oh crap. You know, here comes. Mm-hmm. Here comes another level of, of complexity. But I, I do think that this is, this is an opportunity for a lot of organizations.

[00:25:32] Trent Cotton: Uh, we do this to a degree of, of going in and trying to get ahead of the curve. So looking at how do we train up and get high schoolers, we’ll just start high school. How do we get them involved in some of the tech, um, jobs and the tech opportunities that are out there? Because a lot of, I know I did, I thought tech is fun.

[00:25:56] Trent Cotton: I like it as a consumer, but I don’t necessarily wanna sit there and code all day. Well, there’s other things in the technology sector besides just sitting down and coding. Uh, but there may be a kid out there that that’s how their brain works and they love that kinda stuff, but they don’t know that that’s actually an avenue.

[00:26:11] Trent Cotton: Mm-hmm. So our, um, we, we have a philanthropic arm called Hatch Futures, where we actually go in and, and we do that. So anyone in the United States who’s familiar with Junior Achievement, it’s very similar to, uh, junior Achievement, but we do it through stem. So we, we teach them the basics of an algorithm using a.

[00:26:27] Trent Cotton: Couple of pictures saying, Hey, put this in order. Guess what? You just wrote logic. That’s what an algorithm is, and it’s just an opportunity for us to be able to get them excited. So I think more companies that go in and start doing that, it’s going to help. Not in the immediate, but it’s gonna help us in the next five to 10 years as those I.

[00:26:44] Trent Cotton: High schoolers come out and, and they’re on the cutting edge of some of those technology programs. That’s one avenue. The other avenue, it gets back to how are we gonna reskill and redeploy our, our current workforce? And will we have the interest, will we have the, um, commitment to some of our current employees to make sure that they stay abreast of the new technology?

[00:27:08] Trent Cotton: So when those new opportunities do come up, we’re, we’re ready to meet them and we’re ready to push them into it. 

[00:27:14] Matt Paige: Yeah. It, I, you, you triggered one thought in my head too. That’s interesting with, we kind of hit on it earlier, you know, this, uh, evolution of generative ai, it’s democratizing AI in a lot of ways.

[00:27:24] Matt Paige: Mm-hmm. But a lot of folks, especially younger kids coming up, you know, they think of coding as like, I lemme see if I get the sides of the brain. Right. It’s more like right brained, like analytical thinking, all that. Mm-hmm. And it’s like, oh, I’m creative. That’s not for me. But what it does is like the actual physical coding.

[00:27:41] Matt Paige: Becomes maybe less important to, there’s other, other avenues you can leverage from a creative standpoint that I think is a huge unlock. Whether it’s, you know, with a chat G p T or you have like Mid journey and people are creating whole movies with ai, right? Generative ai, and it’s like this whole new world in a sense for like the creative folks out there that thinks can be really interesting to see how that evolves over time.

[00:28:08] Trent Cotton: It is, and, and, and with, with ai there’s, I, I think, um, it was probably a couple of months ago that one of the big articles on LinkedIn was, you know, a company was paying over $300,000 for an, um, chat G p t prompt engineer. Like how do you structure the logic to get AI to do what you want to do? It’s crazy.

[00:28:28] Trent Cotton: So that’s not necessarily coding, but I mean, that is an avenue and you do have to understand the logic behind it. So, I think that there are going to be opportunities that open up that are not the more traditional, as we think of today, um, technical routes. Mm-hmm. And how are we going to educate the youth currently and how are we going to reeducate our workforce to be able to meet those, those demands.

[00:28:51] Trent Cotton: That that’s, to me, that is probably public enemy number one. 

[00:28:56] Matt Paige: Yeah. Do, do you think this whole evolution has an impact on the proportion of folks that prefer, prefer. Like gig type work versus like, you know, gainfully employed by a single employee. Do you think that impacts that in any way? That kind of trend?

[00:29:10] Trent Cotton: It does. If you look at, um, the, it’s called the workforce participation rate, so it measures, mm-hmm. I think it’s from 24 to, don’t hold me. I think it’s 62 or 48. Sorry. It’s looking at what are the, what percentage of the population is actually working. Yeah, it is flatline. It is in the eighties. It was at 80%, you know, it dropped down to 70%.

[00:29:37] Trent Cotton: We have been hovering in and around 60 to 62% over the last three or four years since Covid, because what happened with Covid is that it wasn’t just a recession where just the financial industry or the car industry was impacted. Covid was unilateral in its, um, decimation of jobs. And so a lot of people move to the gig workforce because they don’t, they don’t want to have to depend on their livelihood coming from someone else.

[00:30:02] Trent Cotton: Yeah. This is hyper intensive in the technology space. There are people that just enjoy working on a project. And they wanna do it for themselves. Uh, they’re, they’re a freelancer. They don’t wanna necessarily clock in or have to go to meetings or anything else like that. They enjoy that freedom of just doing the work that they’re passionate about and then clocking out and enjoying life.

[00:30:23] Trent Cotton: We’re starting to see a lot more of that behavior wise, mindset wise. You know, it’s something that we look at internally of, you know, we’ve got people that are highly engaged and really wanna be on that employee side and all the training. And then we’ve got others that just. All they wanna do is do their work and, and call it a day.

[00:30:39] Trent Cotton: Yeah. So, you know, we’ve had to learn to be very flexible and agile, to be able to accommodate both types of mindsets so that way we can retain the top talent in the market. If a company goes in and says It is this way or No way. You are probably going to have more of a talent gap or, or a talent shortage Yeah.

[00:30:59] Trent Cotton: Than your competitor who’s willing to say, you know what, if you just wanna be a contractor, that’s fantastic. Just get the work done, you know, and, and go and live your life the way that you want to. So it’s, it’s, it’s another aspect that’s a result, uh, that was intensified with Covid. Um, there’s 24, 20 4% of the male market left.

[00:31:20] Trent Cotton: From 2020 to current and economists cannot figure out where they went. Now ideally, interestingly enough, if you look at the, the timeline and you look at, uh, average number of hours of gameplay, yeah, it’s almost proportional from when they left hours. That’s playing video games. I think that link, yeah, they’re playing video games, but I think it’s more because they’re doing gig work and they can go and, you know, enjoy games and work whenever they want to.

[00:31:45] Trent Cotton: So there, there’s some benefits, both sides. But companies have got to learn to be. A little less dictorial and a lot more flexible and agile if they want to survive. 

[00:31:53] Matt Paige: Yeah. The old don’t, don’t cut off your nose despite your, your face. Oh, yeah. Uh, yeah. So a couple rapid fire questions for you. Okay. What, what AI technology is most exciting to you right now, whether it’s a tool or anything.

[00:32:07] Matt Paige: In 

[00:32:07] Trent Cotton: particular, uh, um, for me it is the impact on HR analytics. So cinema analysis, forecasting, um, looking at, ’cause for the longest time you could look at what was going on internally, but it then you would have to pull in data from external and it was very manual process. Yeah. Um, now you’ve got these that can just go and scrape the information.

[00:32:28] Trent Cotton: Say, here’s your retention, male, female age groups against what’s going on in the industry. Quicker than it would take for me to actually go and find the information two or three years ago. So the impacts on the HR analytics on talent analytics is, is probably one of the things that I am just, I’m like over there, like a, a kid at Christmas waiting to open up a gift.

[00:32:49] Trent Cotton: Yeah. I’m, I’m ready for it. 

[00:32:51] Matt Paige: Oh, there’s so many tools coming out. It’s so cool to watch. Oh, yeah. Who, who are you watching in the hr, you know, talent or tech talent? Industry. Who are you following that you really find insightful or interesting? 

[00:33:03] Trent Cotton: You know, it, it’s, um, I have a love hate relationship with applicant tracking systems.

[00:33:08] Trent Cotton: Most of them are built for HR processes, not actually built for finding and engaging and nurturing talent. Um, there has been one that I, I, I’ve looked at not too long ago, Luxo, who has got all the AI and machine learning power for sourcing across multiple platforms. It’s got the nurturing and everything that, again, that’s driven by AI and nudges and all that from a.

[00:33:33] Trent Cotton: Candidate relationship management, and then it’s got all the cool little backend stuff with all the analytics. So to me, it’s just interesting to kinda watch some of these thought leaders take these thoughts and actually become advisors, uh, for some of the HR tech companies and, and having an immediate and direct influence on it.

[00:33:50] Trent Cotton: So I think some of the big boys that have enjoyed all the, the limelight and the talent market, like the LinkedIn mm-hmm. Uh, that has gotten so much money invested in it, and I don’t really recognize a change over the last 10 years. You know, there’s a, there’s a lot of people that are coming for him, so I am, I’m here for the show.

[00:34:07] Trent Cotton: I’m kinda like that, that Michael Jackson just popping popcorn going, okay, which one’s gonna win? 

[00:34:12] Matt Paige: That’s right. Uh, all right, last one for you. Uh, what’s one thing you wish you could go back to your former self before you started your career to give yourself some advice? Any, any one piece of advice you would 

[00:34:23] Trent Cotton: give yourself?

[00:34:24] Trent Cotton: Uh, trust the journey. There are so many. So I, I started out as a banker. I put myself through college as a banker. Uh, got into HR because I hated working with HR professionals. And there are so many curves that I took, um, yeah, that did not make sense at the time, but now whenever I look at it, It makes complete sense.

[00:34:45] Trent Cotton: Makes sense. Yeah. The banker, the analytic, the minoring in statistics. That comes in handy in in, in HR now because I can look at data and see what is the story that’s being told. So it is just kind of trust the journey. 

[00:34:58] Matt Paige: Yeah. Trust the journey. I love that. Alright, Trent, thanks for joining us. Uh, before we go, where can people find you?

[00:35:05] Matt Paige: What’s the best spot to go find Trent and all the great insight you have? 

[00:35:09] Trent Cotton: Um, Trent Cotton. You can follow me at Twitter, uh, at Trent Cotton all one word. Uh, you can follow me on sprint or futurist as. F u t h r i s And of course you can follow, uh, all the blogs and posts that we do on Patchworks.

[00:35:28] Matt Paige: Yeah. And find the Sprint recruiting out on Amazon, I’m assuming, or I guess on your website directly so you don’t have to pay the piece to 

[00:35:34] Trent Cotton: Amazon. Yeah, it’s, yeah, it is, it is on both, but uh, yeah, you can go and get it on Amazon and it’s on Kindle and then futurist comes out in the fall. 

[00:35:42] Matt Paige: Yep. Great. Trent, I appreciate you joining us.

[00:35:44] Trent Cotton: Thank you. I enjoyed it.

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