Beyond the labor shortage

Nov. 21, 2021 - By Josh Nickell - ARA vice president, equipment segment

When I talk to rental companies, by far their biggest concern in their business — aside from supply chain issues — is the shortage of skilled labor. It might take 12 to 18 months, but manufacturers will ramp up supply to meet demand. The labor shortage issues, however, are much more complex and will take years and likely a generation or more to make meaningful impacts.

As an association and industry, we are doing many things to attract talent, improve awareness, create career paths, build education and certification programs, pay attractive wages and retain talent. However, the root of the problem is there aren’t enough young people choosing trade career paths like becoming a mechanic or driver. We are committed to it, but it is a long road.

Attracting and upskilling skilled labor needs to be a focus, but too often we are forgetting that labor only is one of many levers in our business. It’s an easy one to get distracted by, because traditionally, an effective and efficient way to handle an increase in business was to increase headcount and fleet size. That isn’t the only solution. While we continue to address the labor shortages, it’s time to turn our attention to building more operational efficiency into our business.

Click here to read how investments in technology and productivity can help in November issue of Rental Management magazine.

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