For many small business owners, a shortage of qualified employees on the market is not a new problem. However, for manufacturers and construction employers, a continued decrease in new entrants into the workforce has tightened the pool of trained applicants for years now. This issue has already forced small business owners to offer highly inflated salaries, knowing a return in value is near impossible. Today, these limitations have been magnified significantly as applicant pools continue to dry up with no end in sight. Unfortunately, the effects of a tight labor market now have very tangible consequences for businesses across multiple industries.

In April,  the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that job openings had reached an all-time high of 9.3 Million. In addition, NFIB’s Small Business Economic Trends survey released in April shed additional light on those industries hurt most by the growing labor shortage. Both manufacturing and construction owners were amongst these industries. Over 50% of participants indicated that they experienced moderate to severe losses in sales opportunities due to a lack of qualified workers. With 31% of manufacturers and 24% of construction employers actively looking to hire, it seems as if all the opportunity in the world is just out of arm’s reach.

Not only is the issue growing, but the need for a solution is urgent. Many manufacturers and construction companies currently missing out on opportunities are those same companies negatively impacted by product and job shutdowns over the last year. But if the solution cannot simply be to hire more bodies, what other options does the small business owner have?

Benefits of Investing in Workforce Development

While there is a lot of conversation at the State and Federal level around increasing Workforce Development commitments, small business owners only need to look inward to begin experiencing the effects that a committed organizational training initiative can offer over blindly signing whatever check an under qualified employee is putting in front of you.

For one, you’ll get your money’s worth. Using internal job development and organizational training will allow you to hire a potentially unskilled employee at a fair pay rate and increase that rate as various training gates are achieved.

Additionally, organizational training itself is a benefit to prospective applicants. If 40% of employees who do not receive proper training leave their jobs in the first year and turnover costs equate to roughly 20% of an employee’s salary, isn’t the benefit of offering formal training a way to both attract and retain your employees while decreasing sunken costs? The benefits of employee training are numerous, and in a tight market, an employer advantage that also yields increased profit for your business is an easy answer.

For those of you who reside here with us in Massachusetts, many resources are already available for you today. For example, employers can qualify for fully reimbursable funds up to $250,000 under programs such as the Massachusetts Workforce Development Program.

For the remainder of your year and into 2022, try to challenge yourself as a strategist and tactician. Evaluate your current resources, and rather than focusing your efforts on the empty desks in your office, start first with filling those desks already inhabited with employees who offer expanded capacity. You will not know your team’s true ceiling until you challenge it.

Let the C&A Experts Help You!

At Cunningham and Associates, we believe strongly that learning and organization growth takes place at the apex between being completely out of one’s comfort zone but with the resource to forge ahead. Structuring internal development programs and driving your current workforce to adapt will place your company in this position for years to come. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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