News Archive: August 2010
Lack of Skilled Workers Threatens Recovery
New York (Reuters): Workers with specialized skills like electricians, carpenters and welders are in critically short supply in many large economies, a shortfall that marks another obstacle to the global economic recovery, a research paper by Manpower Inc concludes. "It becomes a real choke-point in future economic growth," Manpower Chief Executive Jeff Joerres said. "We believe strongly this is really an issue in the labor market."
The global staffing and employment services company says employers, governments and trade groups need to collaborate on strategic migration policies that can alleviate such worker shortages. Skilled work is usually specific to a given location: the work cannot move, so the workers have to.
The shortage of skilled workers is the No. 1 or No. 2 hiring challenge in six of the 10 biggest economies, Manpower found in a recent survey of 35,000 employers. Skilled trades were the top area of shortage in 10 of 17 European countries, according to the survey.
While the short-term way to address to shortages is to embrace migration, the long-term solution is to change attitudes toward skilled trades, Manpower argues.
Since the 1970s, parents have been told that a university degree -- and the entry it affords into the so-called knowledge economy -- was the only track to a financially secure profession. But all of the skilled trades offer a career path with an almost assured income, Joerres said, and make it possible to open one's own business.
In the United States, recession and persistent high unemployment may lead parents and young people entering the workforce to reconsider their options. The skilled trades category also includes jobs like bricklayers, cabinet makers, plumbers and butchers, jobs that typically require a specialist's certification.
Older, experienced workers are retiring and their younger replacements often do not have the right training because their schools are out of touch with modern business needs. Also contributing to the shortage is social stigma attached to such work, Manpower argues in its paper published recently. A poll of 15-year-olds by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found only one in 10 American teenagers see themselves in a blue-collar job at age 30. The proportion was even lower in Japan. Education could address that stigma. Students should be reminded that blue-collar work can be lucrative: skilled plumbers can make upwards of $75,000 a year, Manpower argues.
Overall, Manpower's fifth annual talent shortage survey found 31 percent of employers worldwide are having difficulty filling positions due to the lack of suitable workers available in their markets, up one percentage point over last year. Click here for a downloadable copy of the report.
Although the proportion of employers seeing shortages is still below pre-recession levels, shortages in some countries are more critical than the global average.
Majorities of those surveyed in Poland, Singapore, Argentina and Brazil reported shortages. In Japan, 76 percent had trouble finding the right workers, the highest reading among the 36 countries and territories. Examples of successful, targeted migration include an Ohio shipbuilder that brought in experienced workers from Mexico and Croatia, and a French metal-parts maker that hired Manpower to find welders in Poland.
Obstacles to such migration include differing standards for certification in skilled trades, as well as political barriers to immigration, which remains an "emotive" subject in many countries, Manpower's CEO said. Japanese employers, for example, have difficulty attracting skilled workers. Sweden, on the other hand, is innovative and aggressive about strategic migration, for example by removing obstacles to workers being recertified in their specialty, Joerres said.
Unlocking the Potential of the Lower-Wage Workforce
Oakland: Last week, the National Network of Sector Partners released a study which summarized the results of interviews with over 50 companies around the country including Tyson Foods, Inc. from Lancaster County. The report demonstrated company satisfaction in their investment in training with low wage workers. For a downloadable copy of the the study summary, click here.
American companies tend to view their low-skill, low-wage workers as a disposable resource - necessary but transient, plentiful enough to hire and lose and hire again as needed. Like many forms of waste, this approach to human capital has the advantage of simplicity, but it's loaded with hidden costs. Chief among these is the constant expense of recruiting and training new employees. But there are other costs, too, like the stunting of employees' loyalty, ambition, and attention to quality. A culture of transiency, where paychecks don't pay the bills and opportunities for advancement are few or nil, is one sure way to wipe out any incentive to perform above average, to push for excellence, to get the details right.
A Sharper Focus On Technical Workers
Washington, DC: Recently, the National Governor's Association published a report entitled, "A Sharper Focus On Technical Workers How to Educate and Train for the Global Economy" which addressed the need to look closer at the nation's need for technical workers in manufacturing and in health care. To download a copy of the report, click here.
America's economy depends on workers who are knowledgeable and agile and who know how to troubleshoot and problem solve in real time in real-world situations, whether in factories, in hospitals, in labs, or in any other workplace setting. This is especially true now because American workers and entire industry sectors are struggling to compete on a global playing field.
Manufacturing is a good example. America still needs millions of manufacturing workers. Despite considerable declines in recent years, more than 10 million Americans still work at manufacturing jobs. One recent study found that 32 percent of manufacturing companies surveyed report moderate to serious shortages in the availability of manufacturing workers and expect the situation to worsen in the next few years. And, as the recent economic trouble with the automobile industry has reminded us, manufacturing—with its well-paying jobs and its extensive supplier chains—has a huge impact on the rest of the economy.
Upcoming Career and Job Fairs
CareerLink Job Fair
March 16, 2011
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Workshops for High School Students from 10:00am - 12:00pm.
Workshops run for 25 minutes beginning at 10:00am, 10:30am, 11:00am and 11:30am. These workshop topics are pulled directly from the high school strand of the PA Career Education and Work Standards. Contact me about which workshops you would like to register for. Please provide a contact name of the chaperon, the number of students, district and grade level. Each room can accommodate up to 20 students.
1. Career Portfolios: Suggestions and examples such as; job application, letter's of appreciation, resume and letters of recommendation.
2. Workplace Skills: The importance of workplace skills/ knowledge such as; communication, dependability, personal initiative and technical literacy will be shared by a local employer. Demonstrations and examples of each will be provided along with a question and answer session.
3. Research Skills: This workshop will focus on targeted job search methods. Knowing where to look for job postings, using personal connections, and pursuing companies that hire students are key components to finding and landing your summer job. Join us as we give you ways to improve your research skills. Staff from the Lancaster Employment and Training Agency will present.
4. Developing a Budget: What financial decisions will you be prepared to make when you move away from home? What expenses must you prepare for? What kind of a bank will be best for you? What should you consider before using credit? Presenter: John Gouveia, Outreach Specialist with Tabor Community Services.
Contact Andrew Garner
Please provide a contact name of the chaperon, number of students, district and grade level and which workshops and times you prefer. Each room can accommodate up to 20 students.
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request of individuals with disabilities.
Equal Opportunity Employment/Program. TTY # 717-391-3570