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Wisconsin small businesses struggling to find qualified workers, report says

Posted at 6:15 PM, Dec 04, 2020

MILWAUKEE — A new reportsays that qualified candidates are hard to come by for Wisconsin's small businesses.

The data is based on research done by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

More than half of Wisconsin's small businesses are hiring, but according to the NFIB, nearly 90 percent of employers who are hiring say they’re only finding a few qualified candidates - if any at all.

At El Greco Family Restaurant on Milwaukee's northwest side, business continues despite the pandemic.

The restaurant is trying to hire workers to get back to being fully staffed.

"We are still looking for employees in our kitchen and that's coming tough,” said John Gliatis.

The federation’s Wisconsin director says a worker shortage in the state is frustrating small business owners. One in four small business owners reports labor quality as their top business problem.

“That tells me they’re looking for certain individuals and not looking to get outside the box,” said Addo Williams, who owns New Look Remodeling.

He said he hasn’t needed to hire because he’s been able to keep the employees he already has. A carpenter by trade, he's taught students trade skills at Bradley Tech High School for the past three years.

He said being dedicated to training has been a key to retaining his workers.

“If you treat your employees right, pay them what they’re worth - usually, people who abide by those characteristics want to stick around,” Williams said.

The business federation indicates a quarter of Wisconsin's small businesses reported already increasing workers' wages, and another 20 percent of employers say they hope to do so in the coming months.

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