Published October 10, 2014

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the fast rise of manufacturing wages in some areas. The largest increase has been in Texas at 25%; however, wages are beginning to rise across the board.

According to my skills gap research study, manufacturers see a gap – there is an overload of requirements (skills and work that needs to be done) vs. the skills and people available to fill them. In addition, it hasn’t been easy finding qualified candidates. Thus, I’m seeing that the smart manufacturers are performing salary surveys and re-aligning to be competitive. Are you? What are you doing to retain, train and find good people?

One tip to implement this week: Start with one department which is vital to your success. Work with HR and/or outside consultants to perform a rapid salary survey. How does your compensation align with manufacturers and other organizations competing for the types of skills you need to retain and attract? For example, for low-level manufacturing jobs, you might be competing with retail. Thus, you better pay attention to retail in that case!

Next evaluate and rate your employees. It can be as simple as making sure your average employees are paid at the low/mid end of the range (depending on your benefit package vs. the competition), and your A employees are paid or moving towards the high end of the range.

You will lose employees due to pay issues; however, pay alone will not retain employees. Stay tuned for future editions for tips on how to retain employees. However, in today’s environment, you WILL lose top talent if you aren’t paying competitively. Get on top of this ASAP.