• Ascend Advisory Group

Coping with a Labor Shortage

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book is an anecdotal economic report based on conversations with business contacts around the nation. In April 2019, companies in most of the Fed’s 12 districts noted a shortage of skilled workers, particularly in manufacturing and construction but also for technical and professional positions.1 In the same month, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 3.6%, a 50-year low.2

In a tight job market, raising wages to a competitive level may help attract job applicants for open positions and keep reliable employees from seeking better opportunities. But it can be difficult for a small business to compete with larger companies when it comes to pay and benefit packages.

Here are a few tips that might help you cover your staffing needs.

Be Willing to Bend

It’s ideal if you can find employees with skills and experience that match your immediate needs, but those applicants may be few and far between. As a result, 24% of small employers said they have lowered the minimum qualifications for their most common positions over the past two years.3

You might consider on-the-job training for less-experienced workers who seem capable and motivated to improve their skills, or cross-training current employees to fill different roles. And if you can work around the scheduling needs of college students, parents with young children, or older workers who are semi-retired, it may help you attract and retain good employees, because larger companies tend to be less accommodating.

Short-Term Solutions

To cover seasonal surges or hiring gaps, ask your existing employees if they are willing to work additional hours. This may reduce onboarding costs and time spent interviewing, but keep in mind that paying higher wages for too many overtime hours could become more expensive than adding a new staff member.

If you are shorthanded, you might rely on a staffing service to provide temporary or on-call workers. And in a real pinch, a mobile app could possibly help fill open shifts with “on-demand” workers, but only for businesses and workers in certain areas and industries (retail and hospitality, for example).

A traditional staffing agency or app-based service may insure, screen, and check the backgrounds of provided workers, but they also charge more per hour to cover their costs. Hand-picking your own permanent employees — and doing what you can to keep them — generally enhances stability and customer service. It’s also likely to be more cost-effective in the long run.

1) Federal Reserve, 2019 2) U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019 3) National Federation of Independent Business, 2019

This information is not intended as tax, legal, investment, or retirement advice or recommendations, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek advice from an independent tax or legal professional. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. This material was written and prepared by Broadridge Advisor Solutions. © 2019 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.

© 2020 Ascend Advisory Group.

This information is intended for use only by residents of (AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI, WV). Please consult with each individual Financial Advisor listed on this site to understand what states they are licensed to transact business.

For parties residing outside of the U.S., this information is: (i) provided for informational purposes only, (ii) not and should not be construed in any manner as an offer to participate in any investment or to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments, and (iii) not and should not be construed in any manner as a public offering of any financial services, securities or related financial instruments.  

Products and services listed may not be available, or may have restrictions, depending on client country of residence.

Investment and Insurance Products:

  • Not Insured by the FDIC or any Federal Government Agency

  • Not a Deposit or Other Obligation of, or Guaranteed by, the Bank or Any Bank Affiliate

  • Subject to Investment Risks, Including Possible Loss of the Principal Amount Invested

©2020 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved.

Investment products and services are offered through Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC (WFAFN). Wells Fargo Advisors is the trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC and WFAFN, Members SIPC, separate registered broker-dealers and non-bank affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company. Any other referenced entity is a separate entity from WFAFN.

A note about Social Media: Opinions, comments and actions taken on Social Media are those of the third party and do not necessarily reflect the views of the creator of this profile or of the firm.  Social Media is intended for U.S. residents only and subject to the following terms: wellsfargoadvisors.com/social.


FINRA’s BrokerCheck Obtain more information about our firm and its financial professionals