Low Unemployment and the Skills Gap: How Manufacturing Employers Can Respond

August 21st, 2017

low-unemployment-skills-gapWhile the 16-year low unemployment rate is good for American workers, it is a complex issue for the economy and leaves employers wondering what to do to attract the right talent within their budget.

A quick glance at the American Staffing Association Fact Sheet for Wisconsin reveals that the average earning for workers employed through a temporary service is $30,235 annually, or $14.53 per hour. A pay-gap exists in many portions of the State with companies willing to pay supplemental staff a rate between  $10-$12 per hour. As you might imagine, prospective candidates with the necessary skills outright reject work at this pay rate stating they’re unable to meet financial obligations.

How Does the Skills Gap Come into Play?

The skills gap is another challenging issue you may face in the current economy when trying to find talent in for manufacturing positions.

Following are just a few varied and complex reasons you may be running up against a brick wall when it comes to the skills gap:

  • Wages Are Insufficient in Attracting Skilled Talent. Workers who have the necessary skills may already have a job at an acceptable wage to them.
  • Training Has Not Caught Up to New Technologies. New technologies require specific skills, which makes it challenging for job seekers to ensure they have the necessary skills for a particular job.
  • No Proper Preparation for the Real World of Work for Students. Modern students who do not follow the path to college may find themselves left behind in the classroom. Ideally, students have access to a career center program or technical school if they do not plan to attend college, but that is not always the case.
  • Lack of On-the-Job Training. Perhaps the job candidate has worked in manufacturing positions before, but they didn’t use the same equipment or require the same skills.
  • Unrealistic Expectations for the Job Applicant. Employers may look at an ideal candidate, save for a lack of the precise skills they need, and proceed to toss the application to the side.

Looking at these reasons, it may help you see that skilled employees are all around. You may just need to look more closely at their potential for gaining the skills you need.

What Can You Do in Response to the Combination of Low Unemployment and the Skills Gap?

If you are wondering how you can find the right talent with the skills your manufacturing positions require, it may help you to learn more about what other employers are doing.

  • Listening to What Candidates Want from a Job. In a low unemployment climate, you have to look more closely at what talented candidates want from their employer. It may come as no surprise that good pay is the single most important thing manufacturing workers want, followed by job security and benefits, according to Industry Week.
  • Adjusting Expectations. Employers who come across talent who have years of manufacturing experience, yet do not have specific skills for a specialized position, they are loosening their expectations and choosing to invest in the person’s potential. They may offer on-the-job training to get the candidate up to speed.
  • Broadening Ideas About Who Is the “Right Candidate.” Today’s employers are looking at the big picture and taking steps like hiring the long-term unemployed, looking beyond resume titles, reassessing position requirements and paying higher wages for specialized skills.

Do you need more ideas about finding the right talent to meet your needs while reducing costly turnover rates?

The professional staffing team at ABR Employment Services can help you find the right balance for your manufacturing talent needs.

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