OK…what am I missing here? As a result of the Cash for Clunkers program, dealers' inventory for Ford Escapes had dwindled. Ford requested volunteers to come back early from their summer shutdown week to work on production Friday and Saturday. They cancelled the shifts due to lack of participation. I don't get it. Isn't this the industry that has seen thousands of layoffs and two bankruptcies? Wouldn't you think that workers would jump at the opportunity to work after being laid off or forced to accept reduced hours and benefits? What lies ahead for the auto manufacturers and any other business that laid off or cut back employees? Will they hold a grudge? Will they seek retribution for lost wages and benefits? Will they jump ship? Is the Ford situation a sign of things to come?
For the full article, go to Ford bid to build more cars foiled by worker shortage
I’ll agree that many job vacancies are the result of low salaries. For many unemployed or partially disabled, it’s even more “profitable” to stay at home than go to work because of the low pay. But for millions of jobs, I’ll respectfully disagree that better wages solve the skill shortage gap. We have millions of positions open in healthcare, energy, technology, and teaching. We lack “qualified” nurses, technicians, lineman, engineers, and science and math teachers. Many of the workers today have skill sets fit for jobs in the 1980s and 1990s…but not today. I don’t know how many times I hear “I’m too old to learn computers” from a 40 or 50 year old who expects to work for another 10, 15, or 25 years…and yet they want more money to do a job that either could be automated or outsourced and won’t make an effort to learn the skills required in today’s market. It’s not the employers’ or government’s role to pay people more money for jobs that can be done for less or through automation. Employers and government can create opportunity but don’t workers have to take some responsibility in this? And yes….sometimes, a worker might even have to relocate to where the jobs are …or take a shift they don’t want. So yes I agree, there are some job openings that can be attributed to “a labor shortage at the salary level I’m willing to pay” but there are also real skill shortages.
When you use the phrase “labor shortage” or “skills shortage” you’re speaking in a sentence fragment. What you actually mean to say is: “There is a labor shortage at the salary level I’m willing to pay.” That statement is the correct phrase; the complete sentence and the intellectually honest statement.
Don’t speak about shortages as though they represent some absolute, readily identifiable lack of desirable services. Price is rarely accorded its proper importance in this sort of “worker/skill shortage” rhetoric.
If you start raising your wages and improving working conditions, and continue to do so, you’ll solve your “shortage” and will shortly have people lining up around the block to work for you even if you need to have huge piles of steaming manure hand-scooped on a blazing summer afternoon.