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As companies continue to expand their manufacturing operations in the name of cheaper wages, less government oversight, and more lenient environmental regulations, fewer available jobs in safety, environment, and industrial hygiene professions will exist.

This trend is especially true for off-shoring or any other work that is generally considered “dirty” or dangerous. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, U.S. multinational companies added 2.4 million new jobs overseas between 2000 to 2010.

Less Jobs in the U.S. Market due to Globalization

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Last year, one-third of the total US workforce were 50 years or older – a number that lends itself to a large retiring class in a decade or less (Ludwig, 2015). Retirement, made more attractive by lucrative packages, is happening at age 50 instead of the traditional 65 or older (Woolhouse, 2015). On top of that, skilled laborers in environmental, health, and safety (EH&S) are also retiring at a greater rate than in other industries.

A major reason behind the lack of eligible younger employees is the general lack of interest in the field of EH&S. The disinterest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is even more pervasive; high school students have been veering away from STEM careers since the beginning of the 1990s. Of the nearly 28% of high school freshman showing interest in a STEM-related field, 57% of those students will lose interest in pursuing a STEM degree at university by the time they complete high school.

Retaining and Hiring the Right Employees

EH&S companies looking to retain their current employees and fill open positions with qualified candidates should implement these Best-in-Class capabilities:

  • Foster retention by keeping employees satisfied. This can be accomplished by offering a competitive benefits package or “stay” interviews to find out what keeps employees at their current position. Companies can also offer employee development through formal training programs, or open communication channels between management and employees. Best-in-Class companies are 17% more likely to emphasize employee satisfaction than All Others.
  • Find the Right People. All companies face the challenge of properly measuring the quality of potential candidates. But hiring the right candidates starts with improving interviewing and sourcing skills among managers. The Best-in-Class are 53% more likely to improve their interviewer skills compared All Others.
  • Plan Your Workforce. To avoid talent surpluses or shortages, it’s important to have a workforce planning process in place that is fully integrated. Employee retention begins by having a company that can be staffed more efficiently and can forecast its talent needs properly. Best-in-Class are 48% more likely to emphasize a strategic workforce plan to accomplish long-term company objectives than All Others.

Best-in-Class EH&S Organizations Focus on Employee Satisfaction

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Offsetting the decreasing labor pool that EH&S has seen over the past decade is possible with an integrated workforce plan and a focus on improving employee satisfaction to retain valuable workers.

To learn more, read the full report.

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