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 Post subject: Re: Can't find skilled workers
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:57 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:15 pm
Posts: 1160
DoingHomework wrote:
Ms Kitty Cliche wrote:
Not only that - but look at some job ads. They want 2-5 YEARS of experience for what they call an "entry level" position. AND at least a bachelor's degree (some will even ask for some graduate coursework!!!) We aren't talking super difficult professions - this is for mail runners and receptionists - those positions people used to jump into straight out of high school so they could work their way up (remember that? I don't.)

We don't have a lack of skilled workers (outside of certain specialty professions), we have employers with insane demands.


Yes, but one problem is that people straight out of high school used to be able to do simple math (like adding up receipts to process expense reports) and write a complete sentence (like responding professionally to an email.) The overall caliber of high school graduates has gone down so much over the last 20 years that companies want a bachelor's decree even for a receptionist just so that they are assured they have the basic skills!

I can agree with this. Most social media sites have so many youngsters as members that even I have become adept at reading the textese that they post in. Then these kids get jobs & transfer that over into a business setting where it really doesn't belong.


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 Post subject: Re: Can't find skilled workers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:10 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:57 am
Posts: 47
Location: Chevy Chase, MD
Not sure about factory workers, but in the IT industry, this sort of thing really translates to one of the following:

-- We can't find the skills we want at the prices we want to pay
-- We want to change law X that lets us cut overhead somehow
-- We refuse to train anyone, for fear that someone else will pay them more than we want to after they're trained.

I'm guessing it's similar here.


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 Post subject: Re: Can't find skilled workers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:02 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:11 am
Posts: 192
"What if I train my staff and they leave?"

"What if you don´t - and they stay?"


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 Post subject: Re: Can't find skilled workers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:07 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1727
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Ms Kitty Cliche wrote:
We don't have a lack of skilled workers (outside of certain specialty professions), we have employers with insane demands.


But doesn't capitalism solve that problem already? If their demands really were "insane," then the company would not find enough applicants, and they'd have to lower their standards accordingly. Supply and demand applies here.

The fact that they've raised their standards suggests that they're still finding plenty of people with the specified skillsets, experience, and education, willing to accept the positions. Where's the problem?


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 Post subject: Re: Can't find skilled workers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:32 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:28 am
Posts: 88
They aren't finding them. Most everyone I know is working short-staffed - and the problems after so many years are starting to mount. At my work, it's basically that they now can't get people for key positions because they refused to fill the bottom positions that were basically the training pool. We have a very specialized business that you really only learn on the job and that isn't found pretty much anywhere else in the world, so it's not like they can find these people somewhere else either.

Plus, thing of all the people who are burned out - they are cutting corners and just not caring. Businesses may have been saving money for a decade or so, but it is going to kill them in another 10 years, because there isn't going to be anyone with skills because no one is being hired entry level.

Guys - I'm not talking about great jobs with benefits or anything. I've seen places asking for 8-10 years of experience at something, and they want you to be flexible (ie, you don't need a sitter or have another job or a life you are available 24/7) and then only want to guarantee you 10 hours a week at 8/hour. WTF are they finding these people?

And as to the high schoolers who can't do basic math and write - then test them before you hire them. There are ways of interviewing people to see if they have these basic skills, it shows up in a simple conversation.

When I started at a receptionist job, I only had a high school diploma. But I applied for the job with a well written cover letter, demonstrating that if I didn't have excellent writing skills, I at least knew how to imitate it. At the interview, they asked me a series of quick, off the cuff math and statistics questions, because part of the job involved proofing reports. Between the two, they could catch someone who couldn't do the basic job.


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 Post subject: Re: Can't find skilled workers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:27 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5372
kombat wrote:
Ms Kitty Cliche wrote:
We don't have a lack of skilled workers (outside of certain specialty professions), we have employers with insane demands.


The fact that they've raised their standards suggests that they're still finding plenty of people with the specified skillsets, experience, and education, willing to accept the positions. Where's the problem?


Kombat, I think you missed the point of the original story. Business owners were b1tching about not being able to find workers who met there standards after admitting that they laid people off who did meet standards during the recession and now those people have moved on.

I agree that capitalism should protect against this kind of situation. But I think there are many "capitalists" these days who think that capitalism just means they get to make money and forget that the market is going to punish them when they make mistakes. And that is exactly what I think is happening.

Maybe you are right that there is no problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Can't find skilled workers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:50 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:58 pm
Posts: 12
I am in my 50's and this is also half-rant. I have nearly 20 years experience as a corporate trainer. I am currently a technical shop manager/engineering director as well as having been a manager in the past. I am well aware of this subject from all angles.

My staff is made up of electrical engineers, electronics technicians, and industrial electricians, as well as some trainees and "Baby engineers" as I call them. We pay very well, especially for Texas. (Right now, I'm living in Dubai, but am still working in the same field doing the same type of job).

We cannot get qualified people at any price. We even offer to pay them as we train them. The problem is that most young people want to start entry level at $60K per year. Our job path starts around the mid $30's, and progresses quickly to $60K after maybe two years. Within 5 years you can make between $80K and $130K per year, depending on your abilities and your willingness to travel. These are real numbers, and I'm currently NOT able to find people to take the job and do the job. I have hired four people in the last five years who have worked out and stayed with the job. I have interviewed maybe 200 people in that time (at least one per week, more or less). I make offers to maybe one out of every 20 people I interview, so I've hired around 10 people for these positions in the last five years or so. We are not a job shop, and we hope to hire for the long run. I have fired only one person in that time. Everyone else is turnover by their own choices.

In the 1990's we had to lay off people when I was with a different company, and I told my boss at the time that it would be a minimum of six months after rehire before the brightest people we hired would be usable. I was told to slash my staff anyway. Just a note, but if I'm ever asked to slash staff again, I'm submitting my name and walking out the door with my entire team still employed at my departure.

The problem is that younger people want the rewards of hard work, but without actually working hard. Getting a degree doesn't guarantee you $150K per year when you turn 30. Also, for that level of pay, you'd better be earning me at least $300K. When my guys see that I'm charging over $2K per day for their services (once they are senior and independent), they think, "that's nearly $750K per year, and I'm only making $90K. I'm being ripped off." They conveniently forget the $40K they got the year when we were teaching them how to do the job, not to mention the jobs we sent them out on - unpaid - so they could get hands-on experience so they could then make us $2K per day. They also conveniently forget days off and vacations and comp time we give them, as well as the times I've had to send them out unpaid for warranty and follow-up work, and surveys for quotes. I did this job myself, and I do my best to make the job tenable for the people doing it.

There is a great deal of immaturity, sloth, and laziness on the part of the younger generation. Are there great kids out there who are worth the money and great employees? No doubt. Are there lazy snots out there who want a paycheck for nothing? Even more assuredly.

In short, this is not a one-sided problem. We hire, pay well, train, and have the full benefits package. We recruit ex-military (my preferred new-hire), recent college graduates, recent trade school graduates, as well as hire by word of mouth and random web postings and searches. If there is an experienced person out there, we start them around $80 to $90K, and when they prove they deserve it, they make more.

In short, skilled labor is just not available. Everyone wants to be a lawyer, banker, or doctor. No one wants to be an electrician, plumber, or welder.

Best regards,
Wino


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 Post subject: Re: Can't find skilled workers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:03 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:28 am
Posts: 88
Wino - I don't dispute that there aren't alot of "lazy snots" who want the rewards but not the work. However, among my peer group, a 30,000 entry level job sounds fantastic. You can easily live on 30,000 (yes, even in my overpriced high-falutin' big city area). Maybe not raise a family, but definitely support yourself amd even a spouse.

My problem has been this - I just got hired, so I don't want to be too cranky because i'm lucky - but I worked while I went to college, so it took me about 8 years to finish. I graduated in 2010 with 12 years of solid work experience, 4 of them full-time in a high-stress executive assistant role to a c-level financial manager.

I couldn't get a call back for jobs that paid more than 10/hr with no benefits. I had stellar references both academic and business, inside contacts, high GPA, great credit - the whole package. I figure if I couldn't get an interview for 1.5 years, then there is seriously something wrong.

Granted, I wasn't trying to get engineering work. I'd be a terrible engineer because mechanical objects tend to break in my presence. I was trying to get an entry-level accounting job. For which I am educated and had the equivalent of entry level experience. My friends are in the following fields - education, statistics, graphic design, math consulting (they design custom algorithms for businesses), network engineering, and more. This has been an issue that they all have been complaining about.


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 Post subject: Re: Can't find skilled workers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:35 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:58 pm
Posts: 12
Ms Kitty Cliche wrote:
I was trying to get an entry-level accounting job. For which I am educated and had the equivalent of entry level experience.


I concentrated on my major need in my rant-post. I also need folks who can evaluate a request and submit a bid. I cannot find someone who can do this. Your quals seem appropriate to this need, but I'd have to talk to you to be sure.

I'm not unreasonable. I only ask for "smart people who can think." I actually tell folks in an interview this is my main objective. I want people who make decisions. I don't care (at first) if they are right or wrong. Take the initiative and make a fewking decision without my input! I can take a loss on occasion. Just LEARN from your mistakes, or KEEP DOING what you're doing if the decision was correct. I have never fired or even severely disciplined anyone for making a decision.

I'm on the tech side of the equation. Right now, if someone answers my request for quote at all, I give them the PO. It really doesn't matter the amount. I pass this on to my customer. Rarely do I even debate the price. What do I care? I tack 15% on to what I'm given and give it to someone else, unless the number I'm given is clearly excessive. In short, I make even more when you ask more from me.

I'm hurting for smart, capable, and worthwhile help. I have advertised and interviewed over and over again. I am discouraged. The only benefit I get is the occasional "this guy is good!" interview that I get. Sadly, too many of these people leave me too early for promises from others who would not initially hire them.

Even so, I get a large number of call-backs from those who leave my employ. I really know my business, and try to treat my guys correctly. Over time, I'm sure my way will work. I just have to ride out the bumps in the middle.

Wino


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 Post subject: Re: Can't find skilled workers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:56 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:28 am
Posts: 88
Quote:
I want people who make decisions. I don't care (at first) if they are right or wrong. Take the initiative and make a fewking decision without my input! I can take a loss on occasion. Just LEARN from your mistakes, or KEEP DOING what you're doing if the decision was correct. I have never fired or even severely disciplined anyone for making a decision.


Sadly, you are in the minority. The very much minority. Alot of bosses SAY they want initiative but punish people severely when it goes wrong.

Maybe I missed it in your earlier post, but what region are you in? Maybe this is a regional thing? Or maybe you just aren't connecting with a good group of people. I know probably a 100 people with the personality you describe who would love to work for someone with your attitude - but I'm in the Chicago area.

Unfortunately, I also know alot of people that are the way you describe. They want it all without the work of gaining trust or experience. But in some ways, it's a reaction to believing that whomever they are working for is basically going to screw them so they need to screw their employer first and harder.

People like you are probably getting hurt the worst in this - you aren't getting the benefit of screwing your people over AND you can't get enough good workers without theses attitudes.


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