Minnesota Employers Struggling to Find Skilled Laborers

We know from listening to our clients that Minnesota employers have had a difficult time finding skilled laborers to fill job openings. Although Minnesota added 7,400 jobs in October – up substantially from 1,100 new jobs in August – companies still need help recruiting the employees they need.

The sectors that created new jobs include leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation and utilities; manufacturing; and construction. Leisure and hospitality saw the biggest boost, with 4,900 added jobs.

While these gains are good for job seekers, they aren’t good for companies. Without a reliable pool of skilled workers, businesses have been unable to create new jobs, hurting the state’s economic growth. While the number of new jobs has increased since the summer, Minnesota trails behind economic growth in other states.

Inability to find skilled workers is a top complaint from Minnesota companies across sectors. Companies are struggling to replace baby boomers upon retirement. When these workers retire, they take with them decades of knowledge about a particular industry and/or company. The more skill or training required, the harder it is for companies to fill these vacant roles.

The construction industry has been hit hard by the skilled labor shortage. In a survey by Associated General Contractors (AGC), 92 percent of Minnesota employers reported difficulty filling jobs for some or all hourly and salaried positions. Nearly half believe it will continue to become harder to hire over the next year.

Creating a pipeline of skilled workers

Some companies are working to train new and existing employees for more skilled and technical positions. The state government created the PIPELINE Program offers grants designed to help businesses find, train and retain skilled workers.

However, some training programs have proven unreliable. The AGC survey also reports that businesses find four in 10 workers coming out of technical programs to be poorly prepared, and that half only had “fair” training.

Another way that businesses are working to handle the gap is by turning to automation. Instead of hiring more employees, they are purchasing more equipment to increase productivity. While this helps in the short-term, it could harm how future workers are trained for skilled jobs.

Attracting and retaining skilled workers

While the state remains in a talent crisis, your business needs to impress skilled candidates so that they want to work for – and remain working for – your business.

Employees are looking for more than just wages to attract them to a job. Benefits like health care, retirement, tuition reimbursement and daycare will help meet If you want your business to stand out from your competitors, listen to their needs and consider how you can address them.

Many companies are finding success training employees themselves rather than waiting for them to complete a technical program. Young and mid-career employees who are eager to learn and/or have leadership experience would be excellent for an in-house training program. Offering opportunities for a promotion and job development will make your company more attractive and make employees feel more appreciated.

If you’re interested in how you can attract more skilled candidates to your business, we’re here to help. Contact us today so we can discuss your hiring needs.

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