Companies are searching for the right balance of labor — at all skill levels — that can satisfy their needs not only now but also into the future.
As the labor market tightens and new large projects are announcing 1,000+ plus job-creation goals, increasingly, automation and robotics are being considered to help supplement labor force concerns. Automation creates a “rob peter to pay paul” type of scenario, though. Where you are able to supplement automation, robotics, driverless technologies, etc. to complete the work of semi- to unskilled laborers, it creates an increased need for higher-skilled associates. In our opinion, that is where the current divide is in the workforce.
Hence the biggest critical location factor for labor now is where do we find the balance of unskilled, semiskilled, and higher-skilled workers to respond to the needs of industrial users today and in the future? Thus, the results of the survey surprised us, with technical schools and training programs ranking 17th and 21st, respectively. A state’s current labor force certainly matters when considering a location, but it’s becoming increasingly more important to consider efforts to create a future talent pipeline to sustain industrial operations over the long term.
As the labor market tightens and new large projects are announcing 1,000+ plus job-creation goals, increasingly, automation and robotics are being considered to help supplement labor force concerns. Further, automation also puts an emphasis on the need for energy availability and cost as most of these technologies need to be charged or be plugged in. While we were surprised that energy costs is not ranked higher, we understand that labor availability is a bigger concern.
The top concerns for most projects we are currently involved in are:
- Are there any buildings/land sites available that can meet our utility usage; and
- What does the labor environment look like?
The communities that demonstrate the availability of their resources — whether it’s labor, utilities, educational programs, incentives, etc. — in the near term, but also “sell” how their public-private partnership will ultimately mitigate the risks of the industrial user in the long-term, continue to win projects.
Bradley Migdal, Executive Managing Director, Business Incentives Practice, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.
Brad has over 15 years of experience managing corporate site selection engagements, business incentives projects, and economic development consulting assignments. Brad expertise is in the areas of domestic site selection and location analysis, economic incentives research and acquisition, and demonstrating the economic and fiscal impacts of a wide variety of projects to both corporations and governments.
Matt Niehoff, Senior Consulting Analyst, Cushman & Wakefield
Matt Niehoff is a senior consulting analyst in Cushman & Wakefield’s Logistics & Industrial Consulting group. Matt leads projects related to location strategy, site selection, supply chain optimization, and labor market analytics. He is an expert in applying analytical and visual methodologies to both quantitative and qualitative data to develop unique recommendations intended to mitigate critical risk factors and produce successful outcomes. In addition to leading projects, Matt supports the improvement of the team’s data, process, and technology through a variety of research and development responsibilities. Prior to joining the Location & Labor Analytics practice at C&W, Matt led the research services division for C&W in Indianapolis where he provided market analysis support to the brokerage, asset services, and capital markets divisions for all asset types. He is a member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and holds a BA in Applied Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science from Franklin College.
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