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?