Applying the Qualitative Method and the Research Problem

Applying the Qualitative Method and the Research Problem


The growth of business locally and in the international sphere has led to an increase in the demand for qualified talent to take up positions within organizations, to attain the goals and objectives of such organizations. Since the industrial revolution, the growth of organization has fueled the demand for laborers globally. Critical reflections that are aimed at engaging stakeholders in industries and businesses are uncommon despite the rising concerns due to changing patterns in the labor market. Over the years the number of job openings in most developed nations has surpassed the available task force ready, able, and willing to take up open positions. In the wake of Covid-19, resignations and the change of preference of laborers in the market have left employers shortchanges with no option other than finding a solution to the issues of a labor shortage that affects the overall performance and attainment of organizational objectives.

The issue of labor affects all industries, especially those that relate to STEM and the skilled labor market. Hoshizaki (2019) studies the labor shortage patterns affecting the construction industry in the United States. STEM subjects have become a top priority in the country and more students graduate with career paths related to the subjects. It is thus a huge impact on other industries as their labor supply grows thinner each year. In another research Clark (2017) identifies a similar issue in the agricultural industry, the researcher focuses on Washington State, an agricultural hub in the United States, and the impacts such shortages have on the economy. 

Liang et al. (2021) study the labor shortage issue in relation to the epidemic and how that has impacted aspects of the economy. The focus is on China and the authors show how the epidemic-affected labor shortage is to blame for the increase in global food prices thus threatening food security. The authors identify the wake of the pandemic as a factor that has accelerated the already existing problem of quality labor shortage. 

Problem Statement

Businesses in 2021 added over 3.8 million jobs to the labor market in the United States, but the workforce at the time remained below pre-pandemic levels (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2022). That means that there are over 3.4 million fewer skilled individuals working now as compared to those working in 2020 (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2022). Organizations in all industries are thus having a hard time finding and retaining quality talent due to the element of scarcity, affecting their performance, and increasing their human resource costs (Kwok, 2022). Labor shortage as a general business problem affects the growth of organizations, industries, and the economy in general. The state of events is worse when organizations seek highly skilled individuals, as it is harder for HR departments to fill in vacant positions with the best talent that will yield a return on investment (Lavoie, 2017). 

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this qualitative study is to identify the impact that labor shortage has on employers focusing on the difficulty employers face in attracting and retaining highly skilled talent within their organizations. A qualitative study design will be used in which narrative data will be collected and analyzed to show the relationship between the labor shortage trends in the United States and the increasing difficulty of effectively carrying out recruitment practices in organizations. The data will represent the opinions and views of employers and job seekers on the issue of the talent gap in the country. It will identify why skilled labor has become a common challenge, especially in organizations that are not STEM-oriented. Qualitative data will be gathered exploring the shortage of skilled labor from different labor market employers’ perspectives at the SHRM conference. The reason for using this form of data to support data is to develop an in-depth understanding of the labor market phenomena and the shifting trends in recruitment practices (Gordon & Gordon, 2021).

The objectives of the research are to determine why the trend of a skilled labor shortage is continuing and identify the probable solutions to the issue, hence the use of the qualitative design methodology. Information obtained through the study is critical in leading the management and HR professionals in organizations towards alleviating labor shortage issues and being better prepared for future similar scenarios. 

Research Questions

1. What impact does labor shortage have on the overall performance of an organization and the attainment of its set goals and objectives?

2. Is the shortage of skilled labor likely to blame for the increasing difficulty and costs of recruitment in most organizations? 

The research questions suggest that there is a gap in the labor market that needs to be understood. As per the research by Kwok (2022), there is an urgency for collaboration between the labor market and academia to deal with the shortage of skilled labor and thus associated HR management issues. In the wake of Covid-19 organizations have to develop robust strategies that will offer more than a job to skilled job seekers. The organizations must create avenues for innovation and diversity thus encouraging highly skilled talent pools to the labor market. 


The qualitative design used in the study will provide sufficient data that will examine the research phenomena and provide answers to the research questions identified. It will provide a narrative based on evidence-based findings from participants to help organizations better understand the impacts of labor shortage on their organizations, industries, and economies in general. 


Clark, M. (2017). Washington state’s agricultural labor shortage.  Washington Policy Center.

Gordon, E. E., & Gordon, E. H. (2021). Job Shock.

Hoshizaki, N. T. (2019). STEM and the Skilled Labor Shortage in the United States.

Kwok, L. (2022). Labor shortage: a critical reflection and a call for industry-academia collaboration.  International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, (ahead-of-print).

Lavoie, A. (2017, March 28). 3 Ways to Identify, and Fill, the Skills Gap at Your Workplace. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/291098

Liang, L., Qin, K., Jiang, S., Wang, X., & Shi, Y. (2021). Impact of Epidemic-Affected Labor Shortage on Food Safety: A Chinese Scenario Analysis Using the CGE Model.  Foods10(11), 2679.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (2022, February 7). Understanding America’s labor shortage. U.S. Chamber of Commerce | U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

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