Is Your Company Really Ready for Business Development?

I’m curious what’s going to happen if, and when we move a significant percentage of manufacturing jobs back to the United States. I agree with most Americans that creating more good paying jobs is a win / win for workers and the economy.

My experience of working with numerous and varied employers in the Greater Memphis area has caused me to think that finding employees may not be as easy as we think.

One client recently raised his starting pay to try and attract a broader pool of applicants to choose from. He used one of the on-line services and had only one requirement. He wanted a brief cover letter to explain who the applicant is and their job experience. He received over 300 responses to the ad. Pretty successful, right?

Not really. Of the 300, 60% or 120 didn’t bother to creates the cover letter. When he sent them a rejection notice telling them why only 4 took advantage of a second shot and responded. All 4 argued that they had done it.  Of the 180 remaining applicants, they screened the submissions and set up 30 interviews. Of the 30 scheduled only 6 showed up. If you’re doing the math, that’s 2% of all applicants made it to the interview. Of those six he hired one.

For the record this isn’t an isolated case. He got similar results a year ago.

The employment participation rate of all working age adults rose to 63% as of March 2017.That measures the number of people working or actively seeking employment. That leaves 37% of working age adults not looking.

As the chart below illustrates, the participation rate climbed steadily from about 1965 through 2002.

Emplyoyee engagement

There were one or two generations of workers during that time frame that were taught that  working as the norm.

Several of my clients have said that most of the people they are hiring today are 40 to 50 years old, or products of that time frame. So does that say that younger people aren’t interested in working?

Did they take the minority leader of the House’s advice and go write poetry?

The answer to both is obviously no. But they do have expectations that may not fit the workforce as well as older worker.

I  think there are two possible drivers of the coming employment crisis:

  • Government programs are generous enough that a person working an entry level job can’t afford to work, especially if they have children. Up to a point they make more money and have more benefits that they get working. The hourly rate required to overcome this is in the $15 to $16 per hour range for beginners.
  • The “participation trophy” generations don’t seem to be as willing to take an entry level job, and work their way to higher responsibility and better pay. That was the norm when most of us joined the workforce. Their expectations don’t necessarily match with manufacturing environment reality.

Those are my thoughts, I’ d love to hear any comments relative to the problem.

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