Entrepreneurs / Small Business  March 1, 2022

One-On-One: Interview with Blake Craig and Josh Moser of Laborjack LLC

Each month, BizWest asks a business leader to participate in a question and answer feature to help shed light on a business topic, an industry or add insight to a field of endeavor. This month, Blake Craig and Josh Moser, co-founders of Laborjack LLC, answer our questions about issues facing employers.

BizWest: In your view, what’s the biggest challenge employers in NoCo face in 2022?

Laborjack: Attraction and retention of talent. Qualifying candidates to minimize turnover is crucial. With how competitive hiring is right now, job seekers are continuously presented with new opportunities, which causes extremely high turnover.  

It is paramount that employers think about different lifestyle benefits to offer in addition to monetary incentives. Offering things like a flexible schedule, events, snacks and advancement opportunities are more important to the current workforce.

BizWest: Categorize the available workforce in the region. What sectors have an abundance of workers (if any) and what categories are in the shortest supply?

Laborjack: The supply constraints for the workforce are universal.  Employers across all lines of business, from medical, manufacturing and logistics to retail, hospitality and general labor. The way companies seek help is shifting from “Help Wanted” signs in the window to messages on marquee signs. Now there are even frequent TV and radio advertisements for job openings, showing that businesses are so desperate for help that they are willing to relocate their marketing budget from attracting customers to attracting workers.

The entire supply chain has been disrupted — and it all comes down to labor shortages. There are cargo containers lining the entire coast of California just waiting to get unloaded.

BizWest: What about training? What’s working with regard to getting the workforce trained or retrained?

Laborjack: Since we help many other businesses find the help they need to operate, we have found those businesses are happy and more than willing to provide paid training to the “Laborjacks” we provide them. This training process is yet another cost that eats into small-business owners’ narrow margins but provides value in the long run.

BizWest: Related, are apprenticeships, intern programs and so forth underutilized? Overrated?

Laborjack: Skilled trades are struggling to find workers who want to jump into the apprenticeship role. There is an extreme constraint on the supply for quality skilled trades. Carpenters, plumbers and electricians are all booked out further than they have ever been. While business is booming, there remains a lack of young workers clamoring to enter these professions. Even Einstein said that if he could do life over again, he’d be a plumber!  Maybe someday more of the population will agree, but we aren’t seeing that today.

The demand for internships is still created by universities requiring them, and many students will forgo an unpaid internship because the value they receive in return is insufficient. Unfortunately, many internships are just a way to build up your resume — they don’t teach the practical skills people need to succeed.  

BizWest: Are you seeing employers generally embracing the prospect of getting back to full employment, or are employers more cautious and hiring more part-time and temporary workers “just in case?”

Laborjack: Employers are staying cautiously optimistic that normalcy will return to the workforce and hiring process. While their intent in hiring temporary workers is to be just that — temporary — many employers are now weighing the pros and the cons of using staffing services like ours as a viable and sustainable solution to staffing challenges. The benefits of outsourcing your hiring needs include no payroll tax, no workman’s comp and, most importantly, it frees up executives’ time to focus on building their businesses. 

BizWest: What advice do you have for the manufacturing employers seeking to ramp up production when hiring qualified workers has slowed?

Laborjack: Hire more people than you think you need. Don’t assume offering overtime pay will incentivize workers to log more hours. Workers will tolerate the increased workload for a time, but as burnout sets in, they will look elsewhere.  

Businesses are so short staffed that they are asking the limited number of quality workers they do have to put in more time. With so many other job opportunities out there, they will continue to lose good workers if they are asking too much.

BizWest: Anything else you think business leaders should know or consider with regard to the labor market?

Laborjack: Don’t give up! Continue to consider and leverage innovative platforms to help your hiring process. What you may end up paying in additional costs for hiring, you will save on your time and your staff’s time in the end.

Each month, BizWest asks a business leader to participate in a question and answer feature to help shed light on a business topic, an industry or add insight to a field of endeavor. This month, Blake Craig and Josh Moser, co-founders of Laborjack LLC, answer our questions about issues facing employers.

BizWest: In your view, what’s the biggest challenge employers in NoCo face in 2022?

Laborjack: Attraction and retention of talent. Qualifying candidates to minimize turnover is crucial. With how competitive hiring is right now, job seekers are continuously presented with new opportunities, which causes extremely high turnover.  

It is paramount…

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