Dear People Who Think There are No Good Jobs Available (this includes pundits, government officials, economists),
I own and operate a manufacturing firm. We have approximately 190 employees scattered across seven locations throughout the country. We are hiring for many positions in several of our locations. (If you are interested in a position, check out our website, www.idimages.com and send a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.) This letter will focus on manufacturing positions in our Brunswick, OH, facility. These are considered skilled (press operator) and unskilled positions (material handler). Brunswick is located approximately 20 miles from downtown Cleveland, a labor market that has supposedly been left behind in the recovery we’ve had since the great recession. We have had employees celebrate their 10, 15, and even 20 year anniversaries with us. If you count time employed by companies we have acquired, we have employees whose tenure exceeds 30 years. I believe this is evidence that these positions can develop into rewarding careers.
From June 13, 2016, until July 16, 2016, a period of a little over one month, our HR team reported the following data for manufacturing positions in our Brunswick facility:
Scheduled interviews: 56
No show for scheduled interview: 22 (39% of total scheduled to be interviewed)
Failed test (math test and/or attention to detail): 13 (23%)
Rejected after interview: 8 (14%)
Failed pre-employment screen (offered job but failed drug test or background check): 2 (4%)
Offered job but turned us down: 3 (5%)
Hired: 8 (14%)
Remaining open positions: 4
It shocked me, as I hope it shocks you, that over 62% of applicants failed to show up for an interview (I’m quite confident many of them put the interview on their unemployment applications despite not showing up.) or failed a simple math and/or attention to detail test. Passing our math test requires the math skills of a sixth grader. As an employer, I’m willing to invest in training people, but I don’t think we are equipped to teach basic math. I would also like to point out that 13 of the 21 applicants that showed up and passed the initial screening tests were offered jobs. Basically, if you show up and can do basic math, there’s a good chance we’ll hire you.
In my conversations with people in various industries and various locations, I have come to realize our experience is not unique. Virtually everyone I talk to agrees with me that is a challenge to hire people. Yet, the conventional wisdom persists that there are no “good” jobs available. I am definitely biased, but we do have good jobs available!
The economist in me says the solution to this problem will be twofold: wage inflation and automation. Wage inflation is going to occur because we (this is a collective we – all employers) will have to attract people who are already employed in order to fill our positions given our inability to meet our needs. The simplest way to hire people who already have jobs is to pay them more. Automation will follow. As the cost of labor increases, machines become relatively less expensive.
In the meantime, stop being so negative. If you know someone who cannot find a job, they either aren’t looking hard enough or they lack basic skills.
A Business Owner