Personnel

MailGuru

Well-known member
In my new role as a consultant trying to help local print shops, I am seeing a recurring theme: Personnel (or, lack thereof). Most are looking for digital press operators, CSR's, and bindery help.

Are you all seeing the same thing? Trying to find out if this is something specific to my locale, or, is this nation wide. Is this the result of an aging workforce retiring out of the industry with no young people to step in and fill the void?
 

tngcas

Well-known member
Is this the result of an aging workforce retiring out of the industry with no young people to step in and fill the void?
I believe the labor shortage is nationwide at least in the US and not industry specific. We spent two years paying people not to work, giving them the equivalent of double what they were making when they were working without asking for any proof that they were actually impacted by shutdowns. Here's how I see it:

You ended up with three groups of people.
  • The lazy and clever (LC) - They saved the extra $$ they got so they didn't have to return to work immediately. These people haven't really re-entered the workforce yet and might not for a while yet.
  • The lazy and stupid (LS) - They spent the extra $$ they got and now don't want to return to work but have no choice. These are not the people anyone wants to hire.
  • The people who wanted to work (the workers) and kept working the whole time.
  • Edit: Technically there was the fourth group of people who wanted to work and were impacted by the shutdown (kids kept them home, or other issues - but in my opinion - after two years ended up shifting into one of the other three groups).
During the two years gap wages went up because the everyone else was scrambling to get labor from a very small pool of people (the workers). Now, the LS thinks they're entitled to the same wages as the people who worked the whole time and they don't want to work for the same amount they were working for before.

Hence rising prices and inflation since we all now have to pay double for even basic work and we all spend a lot of time trying to avoid hiring from the LS group.

Don't even get me started on the folly of teaching an entire generation of people that work is supposed to be for "enjoyment" and "passion" instead of a means of paying for what you "enjoy" and are "passionate" about. There's not a lot of Passion and 'fun' involved in the printing industry unless you're one of the crazies like me.
 
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namelessentity

Well-known member
It's a dying industry. I wouldn't tell a young person to enter this profession. The pay generally sucks for the knowledge and work, and the places that do pay well are awful to work for with cameras on you and terrible management.
 

MudInYourEye

Active member
How bizarre. And here I always thought the free market (yes, that also includes the labor force) was all about supply and demand. I know that’s how it’s always played out for the investors, the corporations, the supply chain, price gougers, profiteering, etc., etc., etc.

But if you don’t want to believe any of that, and would rather (mis)understand how things work in the world today by coming to PrintPlanet, then drop in on a thread or two here about economics, and in particular, the current state of the US economy. Where essentially the biggest reason for inflation these days rests solely on the 5-15% of the current and previously unemployed workforce, holding out for better offers. Lol.
 

DYP

Well-known member
I believe the labor shortage is nationwide at least in the US and not industry specific. We spent two years paying people not to work, giving them the equivalent of double what they were making when they were working without asking for any proof that they were actually impacted by shutdowns. Here's how I see it:

You ended up with three groups of people.
  • The lazy and clever (LC) - They saved the extra $$ they got so they didn't have to return to work immediately. These people haven't really re-entered the workforce yet and might not for a while yet.
  • The lazy and stupid (LS) - They spent the extra $$ they got and now don't want to return to work but have no choice. These are not the people anyone wants to hire.
  • The people who wanted to work (the workers) and kept working the whole time.
  • Edit: Technically there was the fourth group of people who wanted to work and were impacted by the shutdown (kids kept them home, or other issues - but in my opinion - after two years ended up shifting into one of the other three groups).
During the two years gap wages went up because the everyone else was scrambling to get labor from a very small pool of people (the workers). Now, the LS thinks they're entitled to the same wages as the people who worked the whole time and they don't want to work for the same amount they were working for before.

Hence rising prices and inflation since we all now have to pay double for even basic work and we all spend a lot of time trying to avoid hiring from the LS group.

Don't even get me started on the folly of teaching an entire generation of people that work is supposed to be for "enjoyment" and "passion" instead of a means of paying for what you "enjoy" and are "passionate" about. There's not a lot of Passion and 'fun' involved in the printing industry unless you're one of the crazies like me.
You forgot all the retires.
 

tngcas

Well-known member
How bizarre. And here I always thought the free market (yes, that also includes the labor force) was all about supply and demand.
Free markets - this concept means "free from government interference." If the government artificially reduces the supply of labor (by stepping in and for two years inducing a large percentage of the available workforce to not actively seek work) it destabilized the market. It will take years for the "free markets" to recover from said interference.

I'm not judging whether or not that interference was necessary action or not, merely pointing out that the interference had consequences that we are seeing play out now.
I wouldn't, personally, say that the current period of inflation was caused only by this specific government action but I think it strongly contributed - you don't have to agree.
I also think a fairly strong case can be made that anytime you see a suddenly excessive or rapid inflation in any economy, that it has historically followed periods when government interference in free markets was either too heavy and/or lasted too long.
 

tngcas

Well-known member
You forgot all the retires.
Hrm, wouldn't they have retired soon anyways?
How many people retired "earlier" than planned rather than "later" than planned & merely took this opportunity to retire?
I know of several print shop owners who kept going for at least 5 years past when they had originally planned to retire and then abruptly "retired" when the currently climate presented itself. They didn't really retire "early".
 

MudInYourEye

Active member
It's a dying industry. I wouldn't tell a young person to enter this profession. The pay generally sucks for the knowledge and work, and the places that do pay well are awful to work for with cameras on you and terrible management.
This may be the correct answer (at least in part) to the question asked by the OP.
 

TJPrinter

Well-known member
In my new role as a consultant trying to help local print shops, I am seeing a recurring theme: Personnel (or, lack thereof). Most are looking for digital press operators, CSR's, and bindery help.

Are you all seeing the same thing? Trying to find out if this is something specific to my locale, or, is this nation wide. Is this the result of an aging workforce retiring out of the industry with no young people to step in and fill the void?
It’s everywhere, unfortunately.

Perhaps for the digital press and CSR positions these print shops should consider hiring someone that is motivated and eagle to learn instead of looking for someone that has X amount of years of experience. Certainly it’s not an immediate fix but it’s a way to get to where they need to be. For bindery, they need to rely more on automation to eliminate labor. Thinking slitter, cutter creaser instead of guillotine cutter. Sure they may be slower but they get the job done without much human interaction. I can print, address, bleed trim and tray a mailing of 25,000 4x6 postcards by the time the engine is done because I use variable data for addressing and Rollem slitters for the cutting. I also use a Duplo for the short run jobs. More automation everywhere and anywhere is the way to stay in this business.

Labor shortage because of lazy people on government subsidies? I think not. It’s extremely more complicated than that! I’m certainly not going to list all the reasons but for anyone that may want a better insight here’s a few links. Understanding more about the problem could help retain employees and finding new help.

13 reasons that help explain the labor shortage in the US

Understanding America’s Labor Shortage: The Most Impacted Industries
 

YourCastle

Well-known member
This may be the correct answer (at least in part) to the question asked by the OP.
"Show Me The Money!"

the problem is, too many kids think this job is easy, so they get a "graphic design" degree and flood the market -- at least in the Denver area. Managers/owners (who should know better) think they can bring in a college kids and train them up for near minimum wage ($15/hr in Denver).

Owners/managers should consider reality... A person with experience who is willing to take ownership of their job is worth a great deal more than someone inexperienced who doesn't really care.

Paying more for quality... employees. Pays off.

So, the solution is... nothing. Nothing will change. So live another day.
 

kslight

Well-known member
If you can’t find help, or the quality of help isn’t what you’re expecting, people don’t stick around, etc…take a look at the pay, benefits, the environment (is it a sweat shop, and the other coworkers/management)…. I have been doing this for over 15 years and I can’t tell you how many print shops I have interviewed at that offered me half of my salary, unsustainable hours / shifts (or wanted me to be “part time”), low or no PTO, no 401k / match, no or poor health insurance, no climate control, hostile micromanagement, etc..

Put this another way, if someone can go to the grocery store and make more money with way better benefits, less responsibility, they probably won’t work nights at a dirty / hot print shop for less money. If they can’t afford basic needs like rent, reliable transportation, child care, health insurance, some semblance of quality of life, etc in your area on what $ you are paying it’s time to reevaluate. Systemically paying a low wage you’ll have people with no or poor transportation, miss a lot of work because of child care, or will just leave the first time a better job comes around, etc.

No, people didn’t get to quit working because they got a small amount of government handouts. People got to maybe eat for another month after their employer laid everyone off for a month, made cutbacks, etc, nobody in the working class got rich.
 
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