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Many academic studies have found that the key to long-term job satisfaction is earned success through meaningful work. One study found that on average, American workers said they’d be willing to forego 23% of their entire lifetime earnings in order to have a job that was always meaningful. This is important to keep in mind as we focus on attracting future workforce to the equipment dealer industry.

At the Iowa and Nebraska Regional Workforce Development Conferences hosted by INEDA on May 26 in Ankeny, IA and May 27 in Grand Island, NE, Gentry Collins of CAP Public Affairs presented the results of a survey conducted earlier this year aimed at understanding how potential recruits perceive our industry in order to improve workforce recruitment and retention within the industry.

The study evaluated existing perceptions, preferences, and priorities among prospects, parents of prospects, mentors of prospects, and the general public. The survey was conducted among 502 respondents from Midwestern states with an oversample from Iowa and Nebraska. The study found that while overall this industry is seen as a respectable and stable industry to work in, jobs in this industry are ill-defined.

Predictably, the study found that salary is still the number one influencer for young job seekers who are choosing a job or career field. Of young prospects, 59% rated salary as a very important factor – outweighing all other factors including hours, flexible schedules, benefits, growth opportunities within the company, and growth opportunities within the industry.

Key takeaway: Pay trumps flexibility among young prospects/job seekers.

A key theme among young job seekers and prospects in general is a focus on technology fields. And yet, when asked to define what kind of jobs they imagine are offered in the farm and construction equipment industry, not one of the respondents mentioned anything about technology in their open-
ended responses.

Key takeaway: Focus on emphasizing the technology jobs that are offered in the farm and equipment dealer industry when recruiting young prospects.

The survey also found that training resources are very important to young prospects when choosing a career. The survey found that apprenticeship programs, tool-cost assistance, and technical certifications are more compelling to young prospects than mentorship programs, student loan forgiveness, and degree assistance.

Key takeaway: Offer apprenticeships, tool-cost assistance programs, and technical certifications that will get young prospects on the job faster and with less experience.

The last key takeaway from the study found that young job seekers place a high priority on flexibility and work-life balance when choosing a job or career. 52% of respondents reported that flexibility was very important when making career decisions or considering taking a job. This number jumps to 59% among rural respondents.

When provided a list of factors to consider when making a career or job decision, 86% of respondents rated “hours” as an important factor. However, young prospects are not just looking to work the bare minimum hours. Finding a job that offers enough hours that they desire is just as important to job seekers.

Key takeaway: While it’s not always possible, making an effort to be more lenient may draw more young and rural job seekers to your company. Offering flexible schedule options may entice employees to work more hours.

Improving the way potential recruits perceive the farm and construction equipment industry may be the key to improving workforce recruitment and retention within the industry. Overall, while the industry is viewed as respectable and stable, jobs within the industry are still ill-defined. Improve your recruitment efforts by emphasizing the technology jobs that available in the field, offering training programs that will get workers on the job faster and with less experience, and encouraging a healthy work-life balance for employees when possible.

The next page shows some key data from the workforce recruitment and retention survey results. To purchase the complete survey results, contact Will Rogers at willr@ineda.com.