Hiring unskilled laborers -- those with limited training and education -- may initially save your business money in the form of lower starting wages. However, hiring unskilled workers, particularly for skilled positions, can have disadvantages related to production, longevity and overall company performance.
Lack of Basic Skills
Unskilled laborers may lack basic skills necessary for satisfactory workplace performance. This means someone in your organization must train them, supervise them closely or provide extensive on-the-job training to ensure work is performed as specified.
Helping an unskilled worker become better qualified for his role may require an investment in outside training or education programs, which can be an added expense. For example, sending an unskilled staffer to a professional development program or paying tuition for continuing education can be more expensive, at least initially, than hiring a skilled professional in the first place.
Workers who are not skilled in operating specific types of equipment or machinery in your organization can present a costly safety hazard. Accidents caused by unskilled workers can potentially result in legal claims or fines or penalties from health and safety regulators. This can translate to lost money and increased insurance rates.
Laborers with limited skills are likely to be less productive than workers with specific skill sets and experience. They may not have the knowledge or ability to highly productive, or they may not feel the need to perform beyond basic job requirements due to their lower position on most pay scales. These circumstances can cost your company money in terms of lower output, missed deadlines, slow order fulfillment or slow job completion.
Poor Interpersonal Skills
Workers who fall into the unskilled category may have lower degrees of education and experience than their skilled counterparts. This can mean they have poor interpersonal communication skills, which can have a negative impact on customer service or inner-company communication. Unskilled workers can potentially damage your company’s reputation because of their poor communication skills.
Unskilled workers are typically paid less than skilled professionals and may find it difficult to make ends meet. They may only stay with your company for a short period of time before looking for a higher-paying position or leaving to pursue their own education or training to qualify for higher-wage jobs. High turnover in a business can lower morale and increase costs associated with recruiting, interviewing, hiring and training replacements.
- U.S. Department of Labor: An Overview of Economic, Social and Demographic trends Affecting the U.S. Labor Market: The Low-Skilled Labor Market
- The Social Studies Help Center: Labor and Wages
- The Urban Institute: Employers in the Boom: How Did the Hiring of Unskilled Workers Change in the 1990s
- Dallas Business Journal: Some Steps for Dealing with High Employee Turnover