Even prior to COVID-19, manufacturers in the region and across the country had challenges with hiring and retaining employees. The pandemic has caused additional workforce disruptions. Issues of new safety concerns and protocols, family needs, and team collaboration of remote versus onsite workers all are factors. It has also made competing for available talent, keeping seasoned talent, and nurturing new hires even more important. Elements such as culture, training, and career path opportunities all play a pivotal role—as does paying competitive wages. While wages may no longer be the top issue for some, keep in mind you are competing for the best qualified employees. If your company is not paying competitive wages, you likely will have difficulty hiring.

If you need to evaluate your current wage structure, benchmarking your wages against others in the region may be a good place to start. The Center for Workforce Information & Analysis (CWIA), part of the PA Department of Labor and Industry, currently has occupational wage information data available from May 2019 at no cost. It can provide average hourly and annual wages, entry level annual wages, and experienced annual wages for every occupational title that exists—either by a single county or multi-county area. You can compare wages you pay, to averages within  or outside your own county including positions such as CNC Operator, Tool & Die Makers, Welders, Metal & Plastic Workers, Prepress Technicians, Production Workers, and numerous others in manufacturing. The data can be found at: www.workstats.dli.pa.gov.