Many door and window companies have been impacted by the ongoing labor shortage as skilled workers become increasingly difficult to find. John Manzella, global business and economic analysis expert, gave insight into how companies can attract and keep skilled workers in a webinar titled “U.S. Labor Shortage and Retention,” hosted by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s (AAMA) Western Region.

John Manzella at the Feb. 2019 AAMA conference.

Manzella pointed out that it’s not just a low unemployment rate that is causing a labor shortage, but also the lower labor force participation rate, which includes the people employed or actively looking for work.

Some of the major factors driving down the participation rate, according to Manzella, are a lack of support for childcare services, which keeps women out of the labor force, students staying in school longer and the opioid crisis.

One solution for the country’s labor shortage is to increase legal immigration, according to Manzella, who pointed out that legal immigrants are more likely to start businesses and less likely to be incarcerated.

He also said it’s important for companies to invest more in employee education and training, which makes them feel valued and become more productive. Other ways for companies to attract skilled workers include hiring older workers, offering more generous daycare options and schedule flexibility, and implementing a referral program.

By 2025, millennials will make up three-quarters of the workforce, so it’s important for companies to attract them now. This is possible through tangible short-term benefits, social activities and a focus on company culture.

Many companies, especially those involved in manufacturing, could also increase automation, which boosts productivity as well, according to Manzella.

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