Workforce issues are top concerns for Rochester businesses in 2022

At the 2021 Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce Economic Summit on December 2, the results of a recent survey of local businesses revealed that the main challenge for 2021 and the main concerns for 2022 are hiring, employee costs and employee retention.

Overall, the survey found that businesses in the region were equally divided on their outlook for 2022, with 46% saying they were optimistic and 46% concerned about the year ahead. The rest of the responses – 8 percent – were neutral on what to follow.

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While the conference covered many other topics such as supply chain issues, discussions kept reverting to workforce issues.

As the pandemic exacerbated the labor shortage, experts at the University of Minnesota Extension and panelists from local businesses all noted that the labor issues started well. before anyone has heard of COVID-19.

Senior Economic Impact Analyst Bridget Tuck told the crowd at the summit that southeast Minnesota had 21,000 third-quarter job openings and only 11,000 job seekers.

“So we knew it was going to happen … If you would listen to the state demographer and economist about 10 to 15 years ago, they were talking about Minnesota going to get to the point where we’ll have more people going.” will retire from the workforce that we did not have. Our role in the workforce, in general, is very small in the state of Minnesota, ”Tuck said. “What has happened in Southeast Minnesota is that we have seen sustained growth since the Great Recession. So we come to 2018 and all of a sudden we have more offers of. jobs that we don’t have people looking for… Then comes COVID. ”

One industry that is feeling the impact of a shortage of employees and struggling to keep those they have is healthcare. Mayo Clinic Chairman of Strategic Intelligence Adam Brase told the industry roundtable that this is a growing problem, but it is one they anticipate. He participated in the industry roundtable moderated by House Speaker Ryan Parsons.

“It’s important to remember that the challenges for the healthcare workforce didn’t start 18 months ago when the pandemic started… We have heard more recently about the Great Resignation and about millions of people leaving their jobs, but the challenges of the healthcare workforce began years ago. , “he said.” It’s a supply and demand issue, isn’t it? It’s an industry that is growing, as there are more and more medical needs as they go. as people get older. And at the same time, we have fewer people entering the profession. And that has created a lot of challenges.

To address these challenges, the Mayo Clinic has deepened its partnerships with area universities as well as high school STEM programs to encourage young people to become employees.

It’s an approach construction companies like Krause-Anderson are also using to train and attract new workers.

“I think in the construction industry, labor shortages have been a topic long before I started in this profession…. The aging workforce is not being replaced as quickly as it should, ”said Andy Johnson of Kraus-Anderson. “We work with local organizations and bring in high school kids… take them to a site and try to intrigue them a bit. We want to expose them and start laying the groundwork for training them to hopefully make building a lifelong profession for them.

Apart from finding employees, their retention is also an issue that causes managers to lose sleep. Labor costs are on the rise with the increase in the minimum wage and the pressures associated with the pandemic.

Scott Eggert, General Manager of Broadway Plaza, said you have to give employees a reason to stay.

“We are changing this ideology of hospitality… We are trying to attract by actually paying for it and giving them the opportunity to see a path to retirement in our industry by offering 401k and other avenues of retirement. Anyone who works in the hospitality industry knows that housekeeping is the most difficult job in development. It’s really hard to do and it has done a lot of harm to their body over the years. We want them to be able to retire and have enough money in their account to be able to live comfortably, ”he said. “We are working very hard to change the thought process towards the idea that this is a profession.”

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