5 Ways To Eliminate The Skilled Labour Shortage

skilled workerWhile at a Manufacturers Reception hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade recently several owners of manufacturing business commented on the skilled labour shortage. They claimed the shortage of qualified and skilled labour was the one major factor holding back the growth of their business. I have heard these same comments from owners of technology and trades businesses as well.

There is a limited supply of “quality” skilled people available. But the ability for companies in the manufacturing, technology and trades businesses to attract high quality talent goes far beyond paying the highest wages in the industry. If people join your company just because you pay a $1.00/hr more, they will leave just as quickly to earn $1.00/hr more elsewhere.

There is a rule of thumb that someone would need a wage increase of 20% to see a tangible improvement of lifestyle (after paying taxes and other deductions). So if your talent is leaving for a wage increase of less than 20% then there are other factors that caused them to leave.

Conduct an honest assessment of your company in the following areas. Be innovative in coming up with programs and initiatives that will make your company “the place to work” in your industry.

Benefits Programs

I often hear employees boast about how great the benefits plan is where they work. Are your employees boasting about your plan to others?

Working Conditions

Do your employees feel good about their work environment? Is it as clean as it could be? Does it seem organized and uncluttered? The pride employers take in their facilities will dictate the pride employees have in themselves and their work.

Mission, Vision & Values

People will buy into a mission or purpose. Does your company have clearly defined Mission, Vision and Values Statements? Most people want to be a part of something they believe in. If you base a large part of your hiring decisions on whether the employee shares in your mission and values you are much more likely to attract and retain the “right employees.”

Company Culture

What is the “buzz” like at your company? Are all people treated with respect and appreciation? Is the management style Directive or Collaborative? Quality people with choices will not put up with being treated badly. Be sure your management team is conducting themselves in the manner that is consistent with your expectations and creating a winning and positive environment.


The little things can add up. A very comfortable employee lounge, perhaps with a pool table. Social events can go a long way to making your company the “place to work.” Professional hockey teams are a great example of this. With salary caps most players will make similar money no matter where they play. To attract the best talent many teams now offer gourmet in-flight meals, state of the art exercise equipment and luxury surroundings.

Call me at 604.374.5934 or email tony@empoweredbusiness.ca and I will send you a Human Resource Strategies checklist with my compliments

The world is a small place. Employees from different manufacturing, trades and technology companies do talk to each other due to movement between companies. Often they have taken their initial training together. Or they know each other through associations. Do they boast about how great it is to work for your company? Do they attract other quality people to work there or do they give a negative message and chase good people away?

You do have control over this. You can make your company the “place to work” in your industry. A place without a skilled labour shortage.

Tony Malyk

Tony Malyk is a Certified Professional Business Coach and Business Value Accelerator specializing in improving profitability and increasing business value in the manufacturing, distribution, trades and technology sectors.