Companies increasingly competing for workers

May 29, 2018
Christine Strickland, an employee of Morgal Machine Tool Co., assembles a pulley at the Springfield plant Tuesday, May 22, 2018. The company is boosting its wages to attract new workers. Bill Lackey/Staff

A Springfield manufacturing firm said it will boost wages as local economic officials said companies are increasingly competing to retain and attract qualified workers.

The McGregor Metalworking Companies said the business will boost its entry-level wage from $11 to $13 per hour at the company’s facilities in Springfield. Workers earning $14 an hour also got an additional dollar per hour, said Kara Williams, Director of Human Resources at McGregor.

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Other employers across Clark County are also looking for ways to attract and keep qualified workers as unemployment rates remain low and companies are often competing for the same workers, said Amy Donahoe, director of hiring and employer services for the Chamber of Greater Springfield.

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“Employers are realizing that right now they need to make changes,” Donahoe said. “They are doing it in different ways. We have very low unemployment and we have employers locally who are looking to grow and expand. At the same time we also have new companies coming to the area which says a lot about our regional workforce. Employers have to compete a little bit more.”

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These new hourly rates affect all McGregor manufacturing plants in Springfield including Morgal Machine Tool Company, Rose City Manufacturing, Inc., Ohio Stamping and Machine and Carmichael Machine Corporation.

The increase is a sliding scale up to $16 per hour. The previous entry level wage of $11 per hour increased to $13 per hour, while $14 per hour workers are now at $15 per hour.

Company officials said they expect the adjustment to impact more than 100 current full-time workers plus all temporary workers.

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“Despite the $400,000 impact to our bottom line, we view this increase as an investment in our associates, our customers and our operations,” commented Tom Wright, President of McGregor Metalworking. “We are focused on identifying solutions to our workforce shortage and this is a bold commitment to that end,” he added.

Donahoe said other companies are trying different options like offering more flexible hours or being more open to hiring workers that they may have not been interested in the past, such as those with a criminal history, Donahoe said. Other companies are adding benefits instead.

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“Those are people that need to get back to work as well,” Donahoe said. “Some companies are even starting to work more with the developmental disability population which is a goal we’re working toward immersing everyone together in the workforce.”

One of the challenges Clark County is facing is looking for ways attract more jobs that provide attractive wages, Donahoe said.

“Our goal is not to bring in low-paying jobs,” Donahoe said. Our goal is to increase the economic vitality of our community and to do that sometimes you have to raise the bar.”