Ohio business review

Ohio Business Leaders Hold Roundtable to Discuss Workforce Challenges

Representatives of local businesses throughout Ohio gathered at the Shawnee Country Club in Lima to talk about workforce concerns in 2022. 

The roundtable was full of interesting viewpoints on what business leaders believe were significant problems in the recent and coming years. Covid-19 disruptions, increasing inflation, and labor shortages were at the top of the list.

CEOs were most concerned about labor shortages, putting this issue first in the ranking. In Ohio, there are over 250,000 incorporated enterprises, with 97% employing only 100 or fewer people. All of them are practically concerned about an insufficient workforce.

“People are applying for jobs, getting onboarded, filling out all of their information, submitting their banking information for payroll, and then not showing up for work,” said Gordon Gough, President and CEO of Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

Ohio Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Steve Stivers also expressed his concern about workforce improvement. 

“We need to do more to get trained workers,” he said. “We need to attract more workers in Ohio after they graduate from high school, technical school, or college.”

“We want to make Ohio more competitive as a place to start and operate a business,” Stivers added. 

Nick Miller, Director of Member Services for Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, shared the same belief. According to him, finding the right people so a company can keep thriving and producing is the lifeblood of any business. 

“The Ohio Manufacturing Association is working hard in this area as well as working to partner with trade schools, technical schools, those great four-year institutions, to really focus on what are the specific needs,” Miller explained. “How we can all work together to advance and get those people into the workforce and realize there are great opportunities outside the four-year education.”

Other roundtable speakers were Roger R. Craig, Vice President and Ohio Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business; Pat Tiberi, President and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable; and Jack Irvin, Vice President of Public Policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. 

For Pat Tiberi, his concerns were about recent trends.

He stated that today, there are 221,000 job vacancies on the Ohio Means Jobs website, with more than half paying more than $50,000 benefits. The situation is simply going to worsen. According to forecasts during the following eight years, the job shortfall in Ohio will be between 600,000 and 750,000 individuals needed to cover all occupations by 2030. That’s terrific, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity.

“It’s a great opportunity to make sure that Ohio kids have an opportunity to work in Ohio,” said Tiberi. “We are losing many of our kids. While our peer states keep 70% of the graduates from college, we’re at about 56%. We are seeing some positive trends in terms of job opportunities all across the spectrum, not necessarily for a top college graduate only, maybe a young man or woman with a two-year degree or credential or certificate. Every one of our CEOs struggles with the workforce. There’s never been a better time in our history as a state where employees have better opportunities.”

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