In the brouhaha over the Left's push for a zillion dollar minimum wage - you know, one that would allow every cashier and burger-flipper in the country to make a living cashiering and burger-flipping to their heart's content, or at least until their boss figures out a way to eliminate their job because it costs too much - the fact remains that wage rates do, in fact, matter.
October national unemployment stands at 5%, a seven year low. While this doesn't take into account those who have given up looking for work because their needs are met elsewhere (helloooo welfare), it's still a challenging figure for those of us whose jobs actually consist of finding people and putting them to work.
We can do all the marketing right - post jobs, leverage SEO, buy AdWords, use social media, etc. We could conceivably ramp up our spend until literally every eyeball within 100 miles of the position we're hiring for sees our posting. We could make our job postings sound glamorous (Save The World From Unpacked Potato Chips!), appealing (How Many Chips Can YOU Eat On One Shift?), adventurous (Discover The Last Unboxed Bag Of Chips!), or even alluring (Chips + Box + You = Love At First Sight!), but at the end of the day we're asking people to spend eight or more hours a day working their fingers to the bone for minimum wage or a hair above.
In other words, just because we "build" it doesn't mean they will come. And so they don't, and yet clients will continue to blame staffing agencies for not having people available.
At some point, some clients need to understand that, while low wages may be alluring on the front end to those merely looking at the initial bottom line, they pay for it on the back end a hundred times over. Here's how:
Recruiting - The first and most obvious casualty of low wages is experienced by anyone with the unenviable task of recruiting qualified candidates. These hiring managers often turn to staffing agencies because, surprise surprise, they aren't having any success. While staffing agencies do have certain economies of scale here and can likely bring in a few more than the hiring manager was able to, even they won't be entirely successful. Bottom line, if you aren't willing to pay market value you are highly unlikely to find the employees you need.
Turnover - Low wage jobs are generally revolving doors that never stop spinning. This might be OK in certain entry-level settings where teenagers can gain valuable first-time experience or the elderly can make a few bucks and stay below their income ceiling, but it's a productivity killer if you're trying to run an efficient production facility. Put it this way, when the restaurants around town begin to start fry cooks at what you're paying, it's time to rethink your rates.
Reputation - Don't get me wrong, many low-paying employers treat their employees very well. The problem is, while free Gatorade, company picnics and pats on the back may be great, they don't pay the bills. Word gets around fast. Believe me, when people come into our agency they have an idea where they'd like to work and where they don't. Like it or not, pay is the number one factor.
Morale - Most people start their jobs with the intention of putting in a good day's labor for a good day's pay. They want their employer to succeed because they will succeed too, or at least that's the hope. But when employers take that hope away by consistently paying a rate out of whack with not only the market but with what the employee can possibly live on, it won't take long for employees to begin to resent it.
Quality - Let's begin this one by using an extreme example. Let's say we advertised for a $10 per hour engineer. You need an engineer, but $400 per week is all you can afford. Let's pretend a miracle happens and, despite every law of economics and supply and demand an engineer happens to apply for your position. Do you really think you'd be dealing with a competent engineer, or someone more like Wally from Dilbert? And if you didn't want to hire Wally, would there be other applicants lining up out the door? Bottom line: you get what you pay for.
Organization - Finally, while there's nothing wrong with workers organizing for the purposes of improving their circumstances, taking good care of employees is likely the best way to keep unions out of your facility. It's just common sense!
There are other factors, of course, but the pattern is clear. As it turns out, the cost of a low wage is actually higher than most business can afford!