One company president says he’s in the middle of a “skilled-worker bidding war”

Kai Ryssdal Jan 28, 2020
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A worker at Cannelton Locks on the Ohio River in 2016. Courtesy Melody Golding

One company president says he’s in the middle of a “skilled-worker bidding war”

Kai Ryssdal Jan 28, 2020
A worker at Cannelton Locks on the Ohio River in 2016. Courtesy Melody Golding
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Austin Golding, president of Golding Barge Line in Vicksburg, Mississippi, told “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal that business is good in the barge industry right now, but he’s facing tight competition for skilled workers.

“We are definitely hiring and we are seeing wage increases go up for our existing employees,” said Golding. “It’s probably what I would call a skilled-worker bidding war.”

In this tight labor market, there’s high demand for employees with extra credentials. Golding said he’s worried about retaining mid-level employees that are in the $65,000 to $75,000 salary range.

“I think we’ll see an increase in those salaries in the coming year in an attempt to hold that type of worker within our ranks,” he said. “As long as [those wages] are sustainable, I’m happy to give those raises.”

Golding said the biggest headwind facing his business right now though relates to climate change. “We’re having a high water situation every year,” said Golding. “I’m looking out the window in Vicksburg, and the river today is about five feet higher than it was this day last year. We’re interested in the stability, consistency and healthiness of our waterways.”

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