A new survey released in mid-November from the Site Selectors Guild reveals 41% of its members believe skills shortages are the new normal, and manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing will be the industries most impacted by the global talent crisis. 

The survey, conducted in October 2021, also highlights six US states that site selection consultants believe are implementing successful talent attraction and retention strategies, but shows mixed viewpoints on incentive programmes aimed at luring talent rather than companies.

“Guild members are hearing from their clients about tight labour markets, unprecedented wage increases, and renewed interest in workforce training programmes and recruitment tools – all of which are impacting corporate location choices,” said Chris Lloyd, chairman of the Site Selectors Guild and senior vice-president and director of Infrastructure and Economic Development at McGuireWoods Consulting, in a press release.

When asked how long the current skill shortages will last, 41% of Site Selector Guild members said they believe it is the new normal, 17% said at least three years, 17% said through 2022, 12% said through 2023 and 12% said at least five years.

The majority of Site Selector Guild members – 78% – say talent shortages are impacting where companies will consider investing in new or expanded facilities. Additionally, 63% report companies are increasingly conscious of state and local laws and policies, such as social policies and laws, voting laws and mandates related to Covid-19 that could affect recruiting and retaining talent.

When asked to name the states or provinces implementing notable and successful talent attraction and retention strategies, Site Selector Guild members named the following six states (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia

The survey also revealed that corporate clients are reacting to the skills and workforce shortages in a variety of ways – the top one being raising wages or salaries – with 83% of Site Selector Guild members indicating this as a client response.

Additional ways Site Selector Guild members indicated companies are responding include introducing efficiencies such as purchasing automated equipment to produce goods, improving logistics, and/or implementing ‘lean’ manufacturing methodologies (61%); improving benefits or worker ‘perks’ (56%); offering retention/attraction bonuses (44%) and upskilling/retraining their existing workforce (44%).