All across the U.S., companies are struggling to find workers. Opinions are divided about the root cause of this trend, but it's happening nonetheless. In this video from Motley Fool Live, recorded on June 30, Motley Fool contributors Brian Withers and Jon Quast talk with longtime Fool Anand Chokkavelu about what companies stand to benefit from this disruption.
These three tackle the issue from three different angles: workplaces that will attract talent over others, companies that will make more efficient use of the talent they have, and companies that are facilitating the gig economy.
Jon Quast: I'm going to push back a little bit here. I would say that there is no labor shortage. Here's what I mean. I think that what we have is a reprioritization among America's workers. Because you think about it, we have the same amount of people roughly in the workforce and roughly the same amount of jobs. But why is Wendy's having such a hard time? Even a $500 sign on bonus isn't enough. Hey, other fast food restaurants are doing it too. Many places offering these sign-on bonuses and more hourly pay, but they're not able to attract people. Really, what I'm seeing is people had to slow down -- this is my opinion -- people slowed down during the pandemic, really faced with a lot of fear and realizing that life is short. So they've reprioritized everything in their lives. They've questioned what is important to me. They're also wondering, what do I want to do with my life.
We see this. Microsoft has a survey that they've done. If you want to look it up, it's called The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work. But what the survey found was over 40% of workers are planning to leave their jobs this year. Whether or not that's the exact number that plays out, we'll see. But I think that a lot of people are rethinking what they want to do.
Who stands to benefit from something like that? I would say that the companies that have the strongest work cultures, the greatest places to work, they're going to keep their people but they're also going to attract all of these people who are looking for a better option than just working at a fast food place or something like that where they don't feel valued. I think that Zoom [Video Communications] (NASDAQ:ZM), for example, is one company that really stands to benefit as they are building more products and services on top of video communications. I really think that they're going to attract a lot of talent.
Brian Withers: Yeah, their Glassdoor scores. I always love the recommend to a friend, percent positive recommend to a friend. I worked for a company that was a 55% recommended. Fifty-five percent of employees would recommend that company to a friend, and Zoom is in the high 90s.
Quast: Yeah, I got it right here. It's 92%.
Withers: Wow. That's just absolutely amazing. It's not like it's 10 people. It's a ton of reviews. I think you're onto something, Jon. When you get something like the coronavirus that we haven't seen before. This is hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime event, and throw you into a little spin and make you think about what you're doing.
The other piece that's happened, I think -- and you pointed out and Zoom is facilitating this -- is if we're working remotely in our home office, to me, there's the switching costs. The switching cost for companies has gone down. We'll use a investing term here. Whether you're working for DocuSign or Square (NYSE:SQ) or Zoom, you're still going to the same office. If Zoom can attract folks and be a better culture and provide you better opportunities, I think you're onto something there, Jon.
For me, I looked at it more of a what are these retailers dealing with and what are the restaurants dealing with, and I look to Square. Not only they've been known for being able to take payments. They started as a service to just take customer payments with your phone and a little device that went into the headphone jack. But it's also become a restaurant solution with options for customer pickup, online ordering, and delivery. It's probably not the first choice for restaurants as there's other platforms; Toast, Clover [owned by Fiserv]. It's a little bit of a crowded space. But for small businesses, Square's been around, that's built a tremendous ecosystem of 30 different tools, including appointment scheduling, managing payroll, and scheduling software, and time cards for employees. It's completely cloud-based and it's easy to get started.
I think companies will turn to Square just because it will make it easier for them to get through the day and organize the workers that they have, and pay them what they deserve rather than being stuff on paper. And once you've gone digital, it'll be hard to go back.
Anand Chokkavelu: I think something else that's amazing about Square is just having both the physical and the digital presence and just making it pretty seamless for all of that is an advantage. I loved Jon, the Zoom. I thought the angle you were going to take is just remote work and stuff, but also, as an employer, they're winning all around in these things. As you talk about that existential angst that folks have with, "Hey, look, I can make some more money doing something else."
I think anytime that people are thinking about that and thinking, "What would I rather be doing?" it's probably good for the gig economy. Whether it's a full change of direction in a career, or whether it's just a side gig, I think Upwork (NASDAQ:UPWK) and Fiverr (NYSE:FVRR) have those online marketplaces for people working those or trying to monetize a hobby, whether it's writing code or graphic design or giving dance lessons, what have you. As people's creativity go, these things are ready for them, and I think just as a general mega-trend. There probably wouldn't be anything where I wouldn't say, "yeah, probably benefits Upwork and Fiverr," [laughs] but there you go.