AI, automation, and demographics are making prognostications about the composition of the future workforce difficult. One of the largest retailers in the world (Walmart) is experimenting with a mix of higher pay, more robots, and more “gig workers” to retain the flexibility it needs to respond to the rapidly changing retail environment, especially when up against online giants such as Amazon.

In the restaurant industry, demographics are wreaking havoc in certain areas of the country as the available workforce isn’t keeping up with the boom in eating out. Adding to the angst for managers is the crackdown on undocumented workers, a long-time staple to fill dishwashing and other kitchen assignments. Restaurateurs are having to get creative both in attracting and keeping cooks and wait staff.