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Despite COVID-related Layoffs, Wisconsin is Still Hurting for Qualified Workers

December 8th, 2020 | by NEWCA

A recent report from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) provided some good news and confirmation that quality hires are still one of the top challenges to businesses.

In the good news column, small businesses reported historically high level of job openings in November with 53 percent reporting hiring or trying to hire during the month. Unfortunately, the vast majority employers who are hiring said they are finding only a few qualified candidates for open positions—if any at all.

“Finding qualified workers is also a challenge, according to the survey, with 89 percent of the employers saying they struggle to find qualified applicants for the job openings they have available. While it’s great news that one in five small business owners plan to create new jobs in the coming months, let’s not forget that according to another recent NFIB survey that one in five small business owners say that if economic conditions don’t improve in the next six months, they may have to close their doors,” Bill G. Smith, NFIB Wisconsin State Director said in a press release. “The worker shortage continues to frustrate our state’s small business owners.”

Addo Williams, a carpenter and owner of New Look Remodeling, thinks employers may need to shake things up a bit to break the cycle. “That tells me they’re looking for certain individuals and not looking to get outside the box,” Williams told WTMJ-4. Williams said he’s been able to retain his current employees thus avoiding the need to sift through available talent. Additionally, he’s been teaching carpentry to high school students for three years, which has helped him source talent and understand how to treat talent in such a way that retains them. “If you treat your employees right, pay them what they’re worth—usually, people who abide by those characteristics want to stick around.”

Sage advice no matter the size of talent pool. As you’ll see in our update on the Construction Pathways project, the Alliance continues to make progress on developing effective means to growing the construction trades talent pool.

You can read more about the NFIB’s report and statement here.

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