How COVID-19 Made the Skilled Labor Shortage Worse Than Ever (And What To Do About It)
July 3, 2020
As you may already know, the skilled labor shortage is expected to top 2 million workers by 2025. Many companies were already feeling the pressure of this shortage, but the economic shutdown from COVID-19 has only compounded the problem.
It used to be that the number one worry keeping business leaders up at night was the talent gap…and then that quickly shifted to the worries of keeping business alive during the worst period of the pandemic. Or, for some essential infrastructure businesses, the number one worry was balancing finding the skilled workers they needed and keeping people safe.
Whatever your situation, as the nation moves into phase two (and soon, phase three) of reopening, this topic is racing to the front of peoples’ minds again. In order to successfully move into the new period of business as “usual”, it’s vital to be proactive and get ahead of staffing challenges.
Unfortunately, the talent gap hasn’t gone anywhere in the past few months—in fact, it’s actually been accelerated by the furloughing and sometimes early retirement of the at-risk baby boomers from construction, manufacturing, transportation, and specialty services companies. Where companies once had 5-7 years before these workers were no longer available, it’s become a pressing issue today.
What do companies do now?
HR Strategy…The Long Term Solution
Even before the pandemic and its associated staffing challenges, HR departments had been slowly transitioning into talent search groups for their companies as a response to the skilled labor shortage. This has steep price: up to 12% of companies’ overhead costs, with no guarantee of equivalent results.
Now, there’s even more pressure to find talent—as soon as possible.
We’ve heard of a variety of great programs and initiatives to solve the skilled labor shortage. Things like partnering with trade schools or community colleges to increase the labor pool, scholarships, internal company training and mentoring—those are sorely needed and should be included in the roster of hiring solutions. But those are 10-15 year solutions, and companies need to find the people they need today.
A wise leader looks at a variety of solutions to solve the problems that they’re facing. There are both short-term and long-term solutions to this issue, but some of these more integrative solutions don’t fix the short-term problems.
Travel Staffing For The Skilled Trades…The Today Solution
When you have a labor shortage in your workforce, it’s tempting to stick to what you know. Traditional hiring practices have their place, but when the stakes are as high as they are now, you can save time, energy, and resources by partnering with a company like Skillwork to find the people you need.
Skillwork has borrowed from the time-tested travel nursing model and applied it to the skilled trades. We do the work of finding, vetting, testing, and supplying you with the right people for your organization. If you have a stack of 100 resumes to fill a position, you could take the time to investigate each one, or you could use our extensive vetting process to narrow it down to 15 possible candidates.
We’ve invested countless hours customizing our testing and vetting of skilled workers for our clients, which ensures that you get high-quality people, every time. We hire our skill workers for the long run, give them full benefits, and figure out what is going to be the best fit for them—so they can focus on showing up to your organization ready to get the job done right, right away. And if it doesn’t work out, for you or for the individual, we work through that together and send someone else to you.
We work very hard to make sure you’re getting high-quality, skilled professionals. Whereas working with a temp agency (which is not best suited for the skilled trade space) might bring you people who don’t know what they’re doing when they show up, our vetting process makes sure that they’re uniquely qualified for the job that you need done.
Transfer the risk to a company like Skillwork so you can focus on running and growing your business, even in the midst of the rocky road of reopening. These challenges aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but with the right combination of short-term and long-term solutions, we can all emerge out of this crisis stronger than before.