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National HR organization's president impressed with Guam chapter

Posted: Sep 07, 2018 2:23 PM +10:00 Updated:

The national president of the Society for Human Resource Management says he's impressed with the 200-member strong local chapter, which has one of the highest per capita concentrations of HR professionals.

SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor is here as the guest speaker for the Guam chapter's annual conference. He says currently, there are two key human capital challenges: a declining birth rate, which means fewer people in the workforce, and then there is a skills gap. He added, "Having people who can't do the jobs that employers need because they don't have the requisite skills has created an even bigger challenge for us."

"They're all saying we've got to get this people issue right, because we can't grow our economies unless we get the people, the talent issue right."

The local SHRM chapter says it works closely with institutions such as the Guam Community College to find the right mix of education and training. They also consult regularly with senators on human resource and workforce related legislation. Meanwhile, Taylor, a native Floridian, says he's familiar with the challenges of a tourism-based economy like Guam's, which often comes down to a lack of workers.

"When you have a shortage in service industries then you have an immigration challenge. And that really has become the problem in a lot of the world, but its most pronounced on economies that rely heavily on people, like Guam," he explained.

Then there's also our high military participation rate, where regular deployments and training of National Guard personnel mean managers need to scramble to fill in the temporary gaps. "There are parts of the U.S. where you have military bases, but they may be 5, 7 percent of the workforce, they're not 50-percent or more of the workforce, the available workforce. That creates a unique challenge that Guam really has to wrestle with," he said.

Taylor says HR professionals are charged with helping to find that balance between the employer's needs and that of the employee. SHRM is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

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