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The labor shortage from the eyes of a millennial workforce development expert

By , - Last modified: March 12, 2019 at 7:45 AM
Ken Stank, business development manager, JFC Staffing Companies
Ken Stank, business development manager, JFC Staffing Companies - (Photo / )

The current labor market is in an interesting position right now. For the first time in many years, there are more jobs available than candidates.

What does this mean?

Average pay rates are rising as employers compete for candidates. Combined with record-low unemployment, companies are struggling to find the employees they need for their openings.

But this creates a unique opportunity for employers. They can harness the potential of someone with minimal experience and groom them at their companies. At JFC Staffing Companies, we’ve seen an increase in apprenticeship opportunities, especially within the trade industries, which has resulted in a shift in thinking about post-secondary education.

The idea that you must go to college and get a four-year degree in order to be successful isn’t the only option anymore. We’ve seen more companies willing to try apprenticeships, be open to entry-level candidates and invest into those students who have gone to a trade school or earned a certificate in a trade.

Take plumbing, for example. According to the job search website CareerBuilder, there is one plumber for every 125 plumbing jobs, and the average pay rate is $25 an hour.

At the (Central Penn) Business Journal’s Manufacturing Symposium in December, one of the speakers said that a plumber entering the field right out of high school will make more money than a dentist – a profession that requires both a four-year college degree and a graduate degree - until that dentist is around 37 years old. The skilled trades field is adapting to attract workers and is primed for young professionals to enter this workforce.

A similar trend is occurring in manufacturing and warehousing jobs. Average pay rates are rising for entry-level workers going into those positions. What’s more, these industries are driven to create a positive culture and invest in these younger, newer employees with training, growth opportunities and amenities at their facilities.

At JFC, we amplify what those companies - and potential candidates - have to offer by connecting them to find the perfect fit. In my eyes, the current labor market, while potentially intimidating to employers, is a challenging and exciting opportunity to connect candidates with a true match to their needs. 

Ken Stank, 28, is a 2018 CPBJ Forty Under 40 award recipient. Since starting at Camp Hill-based JFC Staffing Companies three and a half years ago, Stank has moved from account executive to senior account executive to his current role as business development manager. He’d love to have a cup of coffee with you sometime soon. Contact him at kstank@jfcstaffing.com.

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