To pay, or to train? That is not the question

By - Last modified: February 15, 2013 at 9:23 AM

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Jim T. Ryan
Jim T. Ryan

How does a company attract and retain talented workers?

Do you pay more or train more? There are many opinions along those lines on what is best for companies to build the workforce they need to produce quality products at a competitive level and thus be profitable.

But in many cases, pay and training do not have to be mutually exclusive ways in which to build that profitable company. They may actually be mutually dependent on each other.

That's the message from New York-based human resources and staffing firm Randstad US in its 2013 Manufacturing and Logistics Salary Guide, a perspective on workforce trends for multiple geographic markets in each state.

And that becomes even more germane as our economy improves.

"As jobs growth continues, there will be even greater gaps between supply and demand for people with specific skills," the Randstad guide notes.

Essentially that means as more companies hire, your company has to compete even more for those skilled workers. So what do you do to secure your company's place in that competitive environment?

Randstad's suggestion is to invest in your workers by talking to them and finding out what their priorities are. Essentially, the company says, it's not enough to assume that those seeking to keep a job or obtain one should be knocking down your door just because you have an available job.

In other words, human pride is a powerful motivator. Low pay and absence of training for advancement make you less competitive. Particularly if that was the environment the worker got laid off from in the first place. That person is looking for the employer who proves they care about their workers.

Or in Randstad's words: "While surveys and generalities are important in crafting the right strategies and offerings to attract who they want to hire and retain, every person has unique views and circumstances. Identifying what's important to a potential new hire will help companies assess potential fit or adjust their offerings as appropriate."

If you want to benchmark your positions and what they offer, here's a look at wages for manufacturing and logistics jobs in several Pennsylvania markets:

Jim T. Ryan covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, transportation and workforce issues. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jimr@centralpennbusiness.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, @JimTRyanCPBJ.

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