Labor and the workforce will continue to be a challenge in 2018 and most likely worsen in 5-10 years from now. It is not pay, lack of benefits, but hard work and less desirable working conditions. As Americans, we stress the importance of college and that everyone should have the ability to attend, whether capable or not. Government entitlements are not working either. If it pays more to not work, then why work?
Very few people believe in hard work, and in many cases, we are not forcing our kids to have a job. Recruitment gets back to the basics, not everyone is qualified for college. Training in the trades needs to be rediscovered. Secure a job and create your own work ethics to succeed and move up the pay scale. In Missouri, we are developing a logging school to get high school graduates interested in the trade.
Entry level labor is the soft jobs that we compete with. We pay the same, but our labor makes bonus and everyone puts in additional overtime. We are in a rural area so good mid-management is hard to find, so there is opportunity for growth and growing within our work force. We are fortunate to have some very good talent that grew up within our ranks and want to live in the area.
Finding labor will require immigration to continue in a controlled manner, unless entitlements change. Putting in robotics will help if perfected, but putting people to work is the real key. My Dad always said, “An idle mind is the devils workshop.”