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The Job Seekers seem to be dwindling ?
I'm in the same boat as you. I can't find help at a reasonable pay rate at all. 3 years ago I would get 50-100 resumes with each Craigslist ad I posted for jobs starting at 8.00/hr and going up to $10 after 60 days. I'd get people with MBA's etc apply.
Now the only applicants I get say "I've always wanted to work in a woodshop. I don't have any practical experience, but I took shop back in high school. I currently make $25-30/hr, and if you could pay me that, give me free health insurance, and plenty of paid vacation I may consider changing careers".
I'm a production wood shop doing the same thing day in and day out. It's not a sweat shop by any means or a frantic pace, but it's not the New Yankee Workshop where I need bench craftsmen either.
Same boat here....I think its a serious problem facing all of us. Unfortunately society doesn't hold blue collar work in high regard. In my humble opinion, not every one needs to go to college, but it'd be great if they had a real choice between college or vocational school.
Everyone I talk to in the "trades" seems to share our frustration.
I'm focusing on our training systems. Much like you two, we're a production shop. I don't really need someone with years of experience that can build anything, I need people that are willing and able to learn a system and work hard.
Same boat here. We're on our 5th "middle" guy this year (3 total). Have had some guys with skills, but they don't want to work hard. Have had some guys that work hard with little skill but want to argue with anyone who try's to teach them how to do something.
Maybe the time has come to open the borders to some of the immigrants looking for a better life?
This is a different Larry but same problems. We just hired a man away from a smaller shop. He came here, I didn't specifically go after him. We pay a bit more to start, but he wanted the opportunity to learn more modern methods. We are a production shop.
Finally a question I know a little about. I can say you need to find Hispanic workers if at all possible. Each market is different as to demographics, but all the headaches that business owners have with blue collar employees is just not there with the Hispanic workforce. That is a broad statement I know but I am impressed each day with the work ethic and attitude of my guys. I would not have opened my shop if I had to rely on americans.
One of the advantages of working with immigrant populations is that you are working with a group who made a conscious choice and was willing to endure privation in order to improve their own life and the lives of their family. As such these people tend to be mission oriented and alert to opportunity.
A good strategy, I think, would be to pay higher than other employers who work with this demographic. Higher wages will attract the nuclear scientists from these countries and with them the peers of those nuclear scientists. In any case it is easier to stand out with this demographic than people who sometimes have a more developed sense of entitlement.
In my city the contractors to beat are Ukrainians & Romanians. These guys will have one lead man who directs the whole tribe. They aren't going to shut your jobsite down for 9 days each month because it's a weekend! These guys want to make money.
There is also the moral obligation. A lot of the middle east is in turmoil because of regime change that was largely initiated by American foreign policy. We broke it so we should also help to fix it.
I would be curious to see how Blake has overcome the obvious language barrier issues. Are there any other less obvious problems to mitigate?
The language barrier is an issue and causes a mistake here or there if i'm not around to answer a question. Between my broken Spanish and drawing the occasional picture we get by fine. If I have to show them how to do something It's usually just once. My lead man also speaks pretty good English and it's generally easy to find one among a group that can. I see a lot of them wanting to learn English and getting better and better with it because they know it will help them earn money and be more employable. When I need a new sub I ask my guys if they can refer someone and it rarely turns out bad. There is an eastern European sector too that is great but its not too prevalent in my area and only in specific fields.
I agree with Blake, I prefer the ones who had some experience as a picker. These guys know how to work like no one else. Like some white people use to... Some of them still stay in touch today after many years.
Guys who have a family are also what works. For the obvious reasons.
You guys are overlooking the main reason. Which is demographics. Look at these graphs. Notices the valley around age 35 or so. That is one of the reasons the housing market crashed in 2007. Also notice the peak around age 20. That is the what is going to boom the housing market around 2020. This group is as big as the peak of the boomers. Remember the reason the housing market boomed from the 70s until the 2000s was the boomers.
1) I would learn me some Spanish cuz that boom in the population is going to be more minorities than crackers.
2) I think Gary has it right in training these younger guys. Training is an investment that does pay, granted there are going to be some that leave but it still pays.
3) I think Larry has it right in making your shop competitive for attracting workers.
4) The way most guys hire Mexican workers is that one guy is in charge and he then get his friends to work for you. But be careful because this sometimes gets abused.
5) Hire for attitude over skills. By far and away the most workable thing I have ever done is to look for people with good attitude. For the simple reason that angry people are usually angry, bored people are usually bored, interested people are usually interested. I.E. save yourself a lot of grief and hire the enthusiastic people.
6) check references
7) The younger guys are naturally interested in computer driven stuff.
8) Look at those graphs for what is coming down the pike. ( both good and bad) IOW start doing some planning.
There will be boom times. But at about 2030 the boomers are going to be retired which means they are going to turn stocks and other investments into safer securities this will depress returns in investments. At the same time they are going to be getting rid of debt, consider that in 1980 the total debt in the US was 5 trillion dollar today that number is 60 trillion. Not that that is all the debt of the population but that is a lot of debt to payoff, which will create deflation. Plus the fact that when people reach the age of 60 they quit buying stuff. Plus the fact that this will occur in Europe, Japan, and the rest of the developed world.
On a positive note look at the explosion of growth that will occur by 2060 it will make the boom times in the past look like a piker.
You may consider this as bloviation, but I warn you not as much as you think.
Just a thought to ad, curious if anyone uses this. It seems like it would be a good idea to form a relationship with your nearest Vocational school or junior college. Most instructors are interactive in helping good students with job placement after graduation. My high school vo-tech instructor gave myself and many others leads whenever we went out searching for jobs, provided he had any.