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Leveraging Technology to Overcome the Labor Shortage
Chamber Updates, Thriving

Leveraging Technology to Overcome the Labor Shortage

by David B. Hanson, CEO of Fulton Financial Advisors and Fulton Private Bank

As we look ahead to the next decade or two in the Lancaster County economy, a challenge that is likely to persist is one we have been grappling with for a while: a shortage of labor. 

While there are certainly other challenges that will require attention – such as rising interest rates, transportation infrastructure, and affordable housing – the labor shortage is not going away. Thanks to factors including demographic trends, there is a gap between the number of jobs required to fuel our local economy and available people seeking employment. So we need to think creatively about how to attract, educate, and leverage a qualified workforce.

There are several factors that can help mitigate the impact of the labor shortage. One is the use of automation and technology, which can serve as a “workforce multiplier.” By leveraging robotics and artificial intelligence tools, we can optimize the productivity from the employees we have. In order for this to be successful, we need to make investments in education and skills development so that we have a workforce capable of leveraging technology. 

Another element at play here is that our potential workforce is no longer defined or limited by geography. One of the lessons reinforced during the pandemic is that when local companies are seeking employees with specific skills and experience, they can consider applicants from anywhere in the country and even internationally, for roles that can be performed remotely. Here, too, it is technology that enables us to work and collaborate with colleagues around the world. 

Of course, this trend cuts both ways. Employees who live here now have the ability to work for companies virtually anywhere. We’re a community that offers a great quality of life within an easy commute to major metropolitan areas. Lancaster County is an ideal spot for professionals seeking hybrid positions that can be performed remotely with occasional visits to offices in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington or New York City. Lancaster County employers may now be competing with a much broader range of companies when trying to recruit local talent. Ultimately, however, when our workforce is gainfully employed – either here at home or in remote roles – their spending helps to fuel the local economy. 

Another factor contributing to Lancaster County’s economy is our ranking as one of the nation’s top retirement destinations. Growth in this demographic supports our tax base, promotes the development of high-quality healthcare systems (along with the related jobs), and also brings an influx of experienced professionals who may be interested in continuing their careers, at least in part-time or consulting capacities. 

Lancaster County is blessed with a diversified economy that provides a buffer from a serious economic downturn. We have a great mix of light manufacturing, a vibrant services sector, agriculture and related industries, and tourism. Our community is not dependent on one company or industry that could devastate our economy if it closed or relocated. 

Ultimately, Lancaster County faces challenges similar to those of many communities. However, we bring a lot of strengths to the table, including a diversified economy and attractive quality of life. Our focus should be on leveraging those strengths and making investments to ensure that our employers and our workforce can access and use technologies to augment the local labor pool.   

David B. Hanson, CPA CFA


Fulton Financial Advisors / Fulton Private Bank


This article was first printed in our December 2022 Edition of Thriving Magazine. You can read more here: Lancaster Chamber Thriving Magazine

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