The unemployment rate (3.5% at the end of 2019) has decreased every year since the height of the 2008 financial crisis, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the labor market expected to follow its current trajectory into 2020, now is the time for distributors to consider strengthening recruiting efforts to tap into the shrinking talent pool. “Many consider the U.S. economy at full employment and we have more open jobs than we do people to fill them,” Forbes reports. “The voluntary quit rate is 2.3%, the highest in 15 years. We need to give people a reason to work for us and a reason to stay.”
That’s not always easily achieved in industrial-type jobs, but with a little effort, distributors can turn that tide and begin attracting more millennial talent and/or individuals who might otherwise gravitate to other career options.
Here are five starting points to help you get your hiring on track for 2020:
- Get a handle on workforce dynamics. Fewer young people are pursuing blue-collar careers, largely because of the stigma that is attached to labor-intensive work, according to Glassdoor. Yet, three in 10 parents say that they would encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing, Deloitte reports. Also pay attention to the unemployment rates in your area, the availability of skilled labor and the companies that are going in and out of business. Use the information to develop a viable recruitment approach that’s tailored to your target audience.
- Ask yourself the tough questions. “No matter how difficult it is, determine the value your job will potentially give applicants,” Red Branch Media advises. Start by asking questions like:
- Why would anyone want to work in this job?
- What’s the benefit to the employee?
- What types of people will respond to that offering and where can we find them?
During its own introspective look, Red Branch Media surveyed employees at all levels of the company to determine what made them successful, both inside and outside the company. “The values rang through loud and clear, from salespeople who had never set foot in HQ, to those who were safely ensconced within the building,” it says. “We used those values and articulated them throughout the recruitment marketing campaigns.”
- Try to remove the stigma against manual labor. Glassdoor says this starts with a having a more nuanced view of how we define intelligence. “With the right mindset shift, we can come to an understanding that people work blue-collar jobs because they want to, not because they have no other career options,” it states, pointing to Germany, a country known for its incredible craftsmanship, where working in the skilled trades is a revered career path.
- Focus on the career ROI. There are 30 million jobs in the United States that pay an average of $55,000 per year that do not require a bachelor’s degree, according to Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “Many of these are blue-collar jobs,” Glassdoor notes. “In fact, a significant amount of blue-collar jobs earn higher salaries than white-collar ones.” This opens the door for wholesale distributors that can show job candidates what they’ll earn over time, what the advancement potential is, and/or what type of advanced training they can partake in.
- Create women-focused outreach initiatives. Women tend to be drawn to managerial or supportive office roles and steer clear of jobs that are vulnerable to masculine stereotypes. To help its service-based clients overcome this stigma, business consultancy Coalmarch tells companies to focus on their missions, highlight their training programs, create better outreach programs that target women, and to always provide a safe, nurturing work environment. “Take the time to anticipate the challenges the first woman on your team might face,” Coalmarch says, “and then brainstorm solutions.”