Minnesota companies have been struggling for the past decade to replace retiring skilled laborers. There is plenty of work available, but there aren’t enough people to complete jobs for clients. Despite federal and state efforts to place more people in skilled labor jobs, a disconnect remains.
People outside of these industries may think automation is the answer. The decline in skilled laborers means companies are turning to automation and technology solutions to bridge the gap, but they still require skilled workers to oversee production and design. Additionally, automation devalues the skills required to learn a craft and minimizes the pool of people who can pass down the art.
To stay competitive as Minnesota’s economy continues to grow (but its working population does not), your company will need to attract and recruit skilled workers and make an effort to grow the candidate pool.
Create a marketing campaign for your industry
Misconceptions about salary, job security, career advancement and safety may be deterring people from pursuing a career in your field. Launch a campaign locally to connect with schools, the chamber of commerce, job placement centers, libraries and more where you can share information about career opportunities in your field.
Invest in finding younger workers
While an older worker is valuable for his or her knowledge and experience, building a workforce of younger workers is an investment in your company’s future. Do outreach with local high schools so students are familiar with your company and what kinds of jobs they can find. Some Minnesota companies are finding success partnering with local high schools to design a curriculum teaching technical and vocational skills.
Create an apprenticeship program
Create your own pipeline of young, skilled employees by developing an apprenticeship program at your business. Apprentices will complete many hours of hands-on learning by working with an expert employee. When complete, you’ll have a prime candidate ready for hire who already knows the ins and outs of your company.
Break down stereotypes
To fill positions in skilled labor, you’ll likely need to hire people who aren’t your “typical” candidate. Currently, women account for less than 10 percent of construction workers. Additionally, most labor workforces are growing thanks to increased participation from communities of color. Some companies are also reevaluating their policies on hiring people with criminal convictions to recruit “second chance” candidates. Let people know how your company is addressing demographic disparities, e.g. by encouraging women to join apprenticeships. Companies need to think beyond where they traditionally recruited employees to find the next generation of skilled laborers.
Participate in a recruiting event
Face-to-face networking is an excellent way to meet new candidates and let them know why they want to work at your company. As part of an outreach plan, you can combat stereotypes about your industry by talking directly to candidates. By being selective with the events you attend, you can recruit among specific communities to increase diversity. Eager candidates who don’t have enough experience yet can learn all about your apprenticeship program.
Hire a staffing agency
Staffing firms are an excellent resource for sending you strong, qualified candidates for your job openings. Instead of throwing up a posting on several job sites, a staffing agency can help you build an intentional recruiting plan to meet your needs.
If you’re having trouble finding skilled applicants for your vacant positions in the Twin Cities, contact Award Staffing. We’ll connect you with the right candidates to meet your labor needs.