By Stephen A. Garrison Thomas A. Stewart Garrison, 49, is CEO of Ward Howell International, an executive search firm. Thomas A. Stewart interviewed him.

(FORTUNE Magazine) – If we maintain today's ratio of employees to population, we will have 15.6 million new workers in the year 2000. That's not enough: Assuming a moderate GNP growth rate of 2.9%, we will have 23.8 million jobs by then. Improved productivity can't close that gap. So where will we find all these people? Let's start with women. To retain those who opt out of corporate life, we clearly need benefits like day care and spousal relocation, but there should be more. Clothing allowances, for example. It costs a woman, in my estimate, two or three times as much as a man to dress for the executive workplace. Or -- try this on your human resource people -- a ''hassle bonus.'' Having children while maintaining a job is one hell of a hassle. How about a $10,000 annual bonus for a woman between the ages of 35 and 45? It would vest after 10 years, when she would get $100,000 plus any capital appreciation -- a good start toward educating those children. Then let's talk about minorities. There is practically a zero growth rate in U.S. jobs that don't require high school diplomas. Yet we have 26 million functionally illiterate people and 46 million borderline illiterates, many of them black or other minorities. Corporations spend $25 billion a year for remedial literacy programs, a drop in the bucket compared with what's needed. We will see many programs for people who come early to work or stay late to learn to read, using operating manuals and word processors. Let's contribute $5,000 a year to the pension plan of employees who succeed in workplace literacy programs. Corporations should consider sending minorities to college. They could do this with loans, which the employee repays or works off. We must also open the gates to immigration. If a person has a college degree and knows English, we ought to bring him or her in. We can use that strength. In my view, a college education should be tantamount to getting a green card, which allows foreign citizens to live and work here.