Hiring in Hudson Valley: Where are the Workers?

Hiring in Hudson Valley: Where are the Workers?

As we’ve entered the digital age, we’ve all become increasingly accustomed to one-click culture.

Even if you’re used to New York traffic, or tend to be a traditional in-store shopper, you’re probably guilty of a thinner patience level. As you’re well aware, manufacturing shutdowns that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented backlogs across industries. This new delayed-delivery world is a stark contrast for a society that’s used to getting our goods and services on demand. While the U.S. economic recovery we are currently experiencing is no doubt a huge relief and a sign of positive things to come, it’s recovering so rapidly from the coronavirus pandemic that it’s putting a big strain on many companies. The manufacturing industry is having a harder time finding materials or workers to fill a record number of open jobs. Experts explain that the shortages have triggered a sharp increase in inflation and in some cases have forced companies to scale back production. Most surprising of all? The shortage of labor, even as national unemployment still remains quite high. So, where are the workers the industry so desperately needs, and what is impacting New York manufacturing companies?

About 5 million fewer Americans are employed in manufacturing today compared to 20 years ago.

Employers hope to slow or reverse that trend in part by reaching out to groups traditionally underrepresented in the industry, and they’re under pressure to do that quickly. The median age of an American working in manufacturing is 44 years old according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and older workers are retiring faster than they are being replaced. Consider your own team for a moment. Have you evaluated the average age of your employees in the past year? It’s critical to have a replacement plan in place, and the reality is the competition is fierce, particularly in the Hudson Valley Region. Regional manufacturers are not only dealing with a retiring population but additional local competition. Consider the newly opened Amazon Distribution Center in the Town of Montgomery. Amazon employees at the more than one-million-square-foot fulfillment center will work alongside innovative technology to pick, pack and ship large customer items and household goods. In addition, Amazon will continue to hire for roles in human resources, operations management, safety, security, finance, and information technology. Meanwhile, site work has commenced on the $120-million, 1.2-million-square-foot Medline Pharmaceutical Warehouse in Montgomery which is being developed on 118 acres on the Aden Brook Farm site. Medline will relocate its current facility workforce of 340 in Wawaynada and plans to add 150 to 200 new positions in the coming years. And don’t forget the new $120 million dollar Amy’s Kitchen Factory plant set to open in Goshen in 2022, which is expected to employ 680 people at its massive 389,000-square-foot facility.

Given the reality local manufacturers face, it’s important to sit down with decision-makers and employees alike and determine what does and doesn’t work within your current business model.

Can you restructure your budget to accommodate an increase in pay and benefits to remain competitive? How do your core employees feel about your work culture? Do your team members feel valued and heard? As of July 6, 2021, the average annual pay for a factory worker in New York is $28,692 a year which works out to be approximately $13.79 an hour. Breaking this number down further, this is equivalent to $552/week or $2,391/month. According to ZipRecruiter’s current data, top earners (90th percentile) make $35,648 annually in New York. Because the average pay range for a factory worker in New York varies little (under $5,000), it suggests that regardless of location, there are not many opportunities for increased pay or advancement, even with several years of experience. This troubling statistic likely contributes to the mounting challenge in the road to re-staff and expand operations. Consider this information when you sit down to make transformative adjustments with your team. For more insight on how to help your business thrive and adapt, contact our Manufacturing Services Group today to schedule a brief conversation. Whatever the size of your venture, we can help you meet your immediate and long-term goals.

Sources: Wbur, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNN, Real Estate In Depth