Category: The Skills Gap

Industry Week’s Salary Survey Finds Good Morale Yet Not Higher Wages

October 17th, 2018

According to Industry Week’s salary survey, almost 70% of respondents are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their current job yet salaries took a 6% dip since last year.   I wonder if the baby boomer retirement ramp up is impacting these numbers as the survey finds that the people with the most seniority make the most money.  

A few interesting statistics:
1) Not surprisingly, bigger companies pay more.
2) Medical devices pay the most, followed by chemicals and food & beverage. Apparel/textiles is at the bottom of the list.
3) VP Manufacturing/Production makes the highest salary ($187,100).

What’s Matters to the Workforce
Yet, the article made a point of saying that salary wasn’t most important to the respondents.  

In terms of what matters most in the job, the respondents said:
1) Challenging work.
2) Base salary.
3) Job stability.

How Employees See It
And, the overwhelming challenge faced in manufacturing by respondents goes back to the skills gap with #1 being the lack of skilled labor.  A distant second (tied) was the adoption of technology and leadership lacking. Lastly, foreign competition and governmental regulation were next. Do you know how your employees feel about their jobs?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Do these survey results surprise you?  We find that our clients largely seem to follow in line.  There haven’t been significant pay increases.  However, they are starting to lose top talent to the competition due to the intangibles (location, vacation etc.) as well as pay.  Thus, it’s important to watch the market carefully – is saving 3% worth losing one of your best employees? I doubt it!

Our clients definitely are experiencing the skills gap.  They are automating as quickly as possible to keep up with demand while also pursuing new strategies to gain employees (such as reducing degree requirements) and mentor, train and educate employees to promote with the needs of the business.  Only the proactive companies with excellent leaders (as everyone can “look up” their new potential boss and see what others’ think) will thrive!

What are you doing to stand out from the competition when it comes to talent?

 



Should We Care If Women Are on Boards?

October 15th, 2018

Last week, I attended a special event about “Women on Boards”, and it was quite interesting to listen to three successful women and Board members.  Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO of 2020 Women on Boards National Campaign led the discussion, and Jan Buchan, former CEO of PAAMCO and Julie Hill, Anthem Board member were panelists.  What I found most interesting is that the board topics were the same that I hear from men yet their experiences were quite different.   

It was interesting to hear their stories as it reminded me of attending Board meetings as a VP of Operations and Supply Chain with our private equity backers.  I was typically the only woman.  I’ll never forget when one of my Directors pointed that out to me.  I didn’t notice it until he did. The conversation also reminded me of a speech by Maureen Berkner Boyt about female leaders.  I thought Maureen made a compelling argument that related to bottom line results.

In essence, there is a shortage of talent, especially as the baby boomers retire.  The companies that embrace female leaders will be more successful.  She cited statistics – female leadership leads to 22% less turnover (which is a BIG bottom line impact), 66% better return on invested capital (with 3 female Directors), 42% return on sales, 2% more cash and more.  Now that is quite compelling and worth paying attention!

When I joined my global consulting strategy group, our leader thought I would add to the group with my diversity. I thought it was just something he said at the time but I have found it to be true.  We have had other women come and go.  All have added a unique view.  I have come to appreciate that our insights can be somewhat different from the norm and can turn 2+2 into 16.

Are you thinking about attracting – and keeping – strong female leaders and potentially adding them to your Board?  You don’t have to take away men to incorporate this idea. Why not add a strong female Board member?

One tip to implement this week:
With that said, you don’t have to start by thinking about adding women to your Board.  Perhaps just start at the beginning. Do you think you’ll gain value with different viewpoints and ideas?  It might stir the pot – which can cause some challenges.  Yet, it can also take you to a new level of performance.  If you think you’ll give it a chance, it makes a lot of sense to start at square one.

Can you attract women to your organization and KEEP them?  Are you able to provide them with career paths that will be interesting? If not, we better start there. Do you have mentors? How can you change the culture to support this initiative?

I’ve found that simplicity “works”.  Why not ask them what would be attractive?  Talk to your best performers and find out what would compel them to stay and grow with your organization.  It isn’t rocket science.  Yet, it isn’t easy to implement. If it were, everyone would just “check that box”. You can’t go wrong by giving it some thought.  Worst case, results are likely to increase.

 



The Talent Shortage – What to Do…

August 3rd, 2018

In every conference and almost every conversation with a CEO or GM, the talent shortage arises.  

It is on our minds! At the E-Commerce and Logistics summit, it was a consistent theme from our panel “Freight, Frictions and the Future” and it arose with each keynote speaker (President of Package Operations for UPS, Director of Worldwide Public Relations for Amazon, and an SVP at Colliers International).  

 

 

Several of the issues that arose in context of the summit include:

  • Lack of drivers (and lack of understanding what drivers have to go through!)
  • Lack of high-tech skills
  • Lack of understanding the value of the jobs provided by logistics.
  • Shortage of resources across-the-board

If you want to thrive in this environment, strongly consider:

  1. Your leaders – people work for people; not companies.
  2. What your employees think of you – everyone in their circle or on social media will know.  Is your company attractive?
  3. Your brand – it is what will attract people to you.
  4. How you stand above the crowd – would you want to work for you?

Attracting good talent is a competition. Are you ready?



Are You Retaining Top Talent?

July 19th, 2018

 

Several clients have been short on top talent. With virtually zero unemployment, the traditional job search programs yield virtually 0% talent.  Even with an executive recruiter, you may be prone to lose your candidate at the last minute when his/her current job figures out they need to do a better job of retaining them and they take action.

 

To give you a few sagas from recent client examples:

  • I was helping a client determine what he needed (skills, aptitudes, behaviors). I agreed to review resumes to see if potential fit exists and to interview candidates.  Although he received lots of resumes, less than 1% were even worth a phone interview. My guess is less than 1% of those would be worth hiring. Talk about a SLOW road to filling an immediate gap.  
  • Within the last month, two clients used a recruiter (thank goodness as we didn’t have to take the slow boat to China).  They found a great candidate and lost the candidate at the last minute to an offer from the current employer who figured out they didn’t want to lose their employee.  Frustrating!

Instead of either of these scenarios, why not retain your key performers?  Start with the following:

  1. #1 People work for people; not companies.  Who are your leaders? Are you developing them?  In the last six months, this too has arisen. That’s an exciting part of consulting – you get to see it all!  In this case, it wasn’t good. Good people left a new ‘leader’. Think about the productivity of the ones staying to finish that ‘last year before retirement’.  How awful!
  2. Provide training opportunities.  People want to develop skills and advance their career which can be a win-win in terms of gaining skills to help you achieve profitable growth.  Check out APICS-IE’s classes for starters.
  3. Mentoring. The only way to improve behavior is through trial and error and modeling behavior.  

What are you doing to retain your top talent?

 



The Skills Gap Emerges as #1 at Prominent Supply Chain Conference

May 28th, 2018

At the Southern California Supply Chain and Logistics Summit conference, there were several keynote speakers from industry icons such as Amazon, UPS, Union Pacific and more.  One might expect quite a lot of interesting insights into the latest supply chain trends yet the most common theme among the presentations tied back to the skills gap. It boils down to having the “right people” for success – both in terms of employees and supply chain partners.

 

Several of the themes emerged the supply chain summit:

  1.  Automation: Friend or Foe? With the advances of automation in the supply chain, there is much worry over the impact on people. Yet, several speakers said they HAD to automate and leverage technology just to have a hope of keeping up with the expected growth over the next several years.  When adding in the retirement of baby boomers, will you have the skills to support your business growth?
  2. Someone has to be behind the robot – Even though some robots use artificial intelligence concepts, they aren’t programming themselves.  There is someone behind the robot – programming, maintenance and more. Are you preparing for a job that can be replaced by a robot or are you programming the robot?
  3.  Robots and people side-by-side-  There are some tasks that robots can automate and improve upon whereas there are others it makes sense to employ workers.  Are you preparing your resources to see value in both?
  4.  Matching skills with roles – How does your company stack up?  Another topic of much discussion – mentioned by panelists and attendees alike – the vast majority of executives feel they are falling short when it comes to gaining the skills they need to run their business at the “right” margins.  How clear are you on what you need to successfully run your business? Or are you living on hope it will all work out?
  5.  The rise of flexibility – With the rise of e-commerce, we have BIG spikes.  We need to be thinking about how to incorporate flexibility into our thinking. How flexible are you?
  6. Would you want to be in the role?  There are some jobs set up to be thankless (such as drivers in several environments).  If you wouldn’t want to do the job, how can you expect to keep your workforce?

Since having the “right” talent in the “right” place at the “right” time is #1 to success, investing in talent could be your most important investment of the year.  Do you spend as much time thinking about your people (whether current or new) as you do a major machine or technology purchase? You should!