With the resurgence of domestic manufacturing gaining new momentum each day, it can be said that with many escalations, roadblocks appear. One of the latest is the availability of workers; access to new employees is getting more difficult. First, the issue was skilled employees, now it is just employees.
For many months, we were reading in the trade magazines and newsletters about the shortage of skilled workers. Reading the business headlines and stories in the recent weeks tells it all. Workers in general are starting to be an issue. In a recent issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek, they noted that employment of non-high school diploma workers was up 6% last year, black teen employment up 18%, and disabled employment up 20%. These numbers alone highlight that the problem is not a lack of technically skilled workers but workers in general. Then this past week, Walmart announced they were increasing the base pay for their workers. By all reports, the number of workers benefitting is a small percentage, (less than 1%, their average wage is already $12.94) but it is a definite PR move if not anything else.
I recently gave a talk to a group of business professionals on using a designed positive workplace culture as a means of attracting new talent, and retaining the employee talent you have. In 2013, PlastiCert won an award for Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility from the Families and Work Institute in Washington D.C., and their When Work Works Program. It is the cornerstone of our keeping all of our workplace talent in place AND attracts the new talent we need. We feel having an award winning culture will augment our search for talent by bring people to us as they look to make their work and home lives as rewarding as possible.
Being a unique manufacturing entity for the area (one of a handful that perform plastic injection molding and its ancillary mold technologies), we have always needed to train and update our people. As our reach extends further and further, this aspect of managing our in-house knowledge base will continue to reap rewards versus having to re-train people with similar technology yet different system experience.