The United States is currently experiencing a blue-collar labor shortage, and Minnesota companies are feeling its effects.
Across all industries, there are currently more open positions than there are job seekers. Economists predict Minnesota will need more than 3 million workers by 2022 to keep up with the state’s economic growth but will likely fall short based on the current population. The crunch will hit industries reliant upon blue-collar workers especially hard.
There are a few reasons why we’re in the midst of a blue-collar job shortage. Baby boomers are approaching or past retirement age, meaning the largest living generation is no longer participating in the workforce in the same numbers as the previous decade. Many of today’s young workers opted for four-year colleges and are pursuing jobs in professional or public services, meaning there’s no incoming workforce to replace retirees.
How can you attract more candidates to your company’s blue-collar jobs and retain your current workers? Promoting learning opportunities and job security is key, but there are many factors that go into a blue-collar worker’s employment decision.
Attracting blue-collar workers to job openings
Blue-collar workers are looking for the same qualities in a good job that any job seeker wants. They want to apply for a position that offers:
- • A competitive starting pay rate with opportunities for regular raises
- • Medical, retirement and other benefits to supplement pay and protect employees in case they are unable to work
- • Job security with reasonable protections from layoffs and a path that would easily allow their skills to translate elsewhere
One proven way to recruit new workers is through apprenticeships. In Minnesota, apprenticeships are on the rise, with 11,500 people participating in a program in 2017. The most common industry for apprenticeships is construction, but they are also a great tool for the manufacturing, technology, healthcare and agricultural fields. Apprenticeships allow you to train more people in your industry and create a direct pipeline for new employees.
Incentivizing blue-collar workers to remain in their jobs
If you’ve attracted great employees with the benefits above, you want to make sure you keep them happy with a productive, supportive workplace. Blue-collar workers tend to remain in their jobs or with their employer’s thanks to:
- • A great work environment where employees enjoy their coworkers and the work that they do
- • A schedule that allows workers a healthy work-life balance and flexibility when needed
- • The opportunity to learn more skills that will allow the employee to advance at the company and/or take on new roles
To the second point, innovative shift scheduling will encourage current employees to take more second and third shifts and help attract more applicants to these positions. Attractive shift differentials, like paying an extra $1.25 an hour for less popular shifts, will help fill any staffing gaps.
Most importantly, workers want the opportunity to grow their careers. Bring knowledgeable blue-collar workers into the decision-making process. Offer opportunities for continuing education on middle-skill and highly skilled jobs. Work to promote the excellent work your employees do both within the company and to external media. Showing prospective and current employees you care about their growth will help you avoid a job shortage.
If you’re looking for hiring solutions to staff blue-collar jobs at your Minnesota company, Award Staffing is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about recruiting top talent.