July 2013 Newsletter
The above title should be a song lyric. Whoops, it already is. It seems every business owner I talk to has a problem getting quality employees. We have a national unemployment rate hovering around 8% and we can’t find employees? What gives?
Four things come to mind:
1) There is a mismatch between what the employees can do and what employers want them to do especially in my world of manufacturing. Employers seem to want to hire workers who are CNC able, can se tup and operate CNC machines and come to work every day with little or no training required to get started.
2) Prospective employees on the other hand are likely to not
have the above-mentioned skill set. The ones that have these skills are happily working for other companies and unless a business is willing to poach these workers for higher wages, they aren’t going to switch.
3) Employers are reluctant to put money into training an employee since they may wind up leaving for a few dollars more. Training takes time and money. Smaller companies who desperately need experienced workers are forced to spend these precious commodities on the "if-come" and hope they can keep these employees long term.
4) The education professionals are not exposing younger students (under 16 yrs of age) to the possibility of a career in manufacturing. Instead they prepare them for college that in many cases will enable them to incur large student debt and graduate to find employment at Starbucks. Not a bright future!
So what’s the fix? Again, some deep thoughts come to mind.
1) We must find out by actually talking to these kids what is motivating them in their career choices. Is it their parents, peer pressure, school counselors, or their favorite TV hero? With adults talking only to adults about what we think
they want and need, nothing will change.
2) Companies are going to have to bite the bullet and take a risk by hiring people that have minimal skills and training them. It may result in some monies being “wasted” on those folks who wind up leaving the company. I would suggest using the three AAA criteria to determine whom to hire. Attitude, attendance and aptitude. In the vein of full disclosure, I got the first two from Joe Koenig at Exactitiude LLc in Tempe, AZ.
3) We must integrate the education process starting in high school, through college and post graduation to enhance skills. Industry must partner with the educational community to set up the course of studies and goals/certifications to be earned. Businesses must then hire these people that have proven their worth to the system.
4) We as the manufacturing community must reverse the perception that our industry is dying, dirty and otherwise undesirable as a career choice. A coordinated national ad campaign along with community awareness activities must be undertaken to combat the drumbeat of negative info and ideas that are abundant in the media.
That’s my two cents on this matter. If you talk to me tomorrow about this subject I’m sure to give you a few more cents worth of thoughts.