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Where will we find new employees?

Woodworking is high on the list of industries that are experiencing a shortage of skilled employees. With unemployment rates at the lowest level in decades and wages at their highest, the lack of skilled people is becoming more and more obvious.

We long ago abandoned industrialist arts programs in our schools, the focus being on white collar career paths, driving students into computer programming and investment banking and away from hands on work. This seemed like a good idea as long as there were plenty of others willing to work in what were seen as less prestigious occupations.

Now we are facing a situation in which we cannot find people who can just come into the shop and go to work. We are having to start at square one, training people in basic skills and at the same time, trying to get them to be productive.

It’s a difficult situation and not one that is going to be easy to correct.

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Dream employees

Everyone in business has an image in their mind of what their dream employee would be. There is a tendency, when interviewing potential employees to look indications that fit that image. This can lead to a distorted, idealized view of the person being considered, leading us to see things that might not really be there.

Employee value

How many times has an employee asked for a raise, saying something like “I’ve been here for x-number of years” or “Joe is getting more money than I am.”

Where did they go?

A recent column in the July 2019 issue of Woodshop News, “What’s the deal with finding skilled labor?”, discussed the shortage of cabinetmakers, joiners and woodworkers in general.