Stepping forward, said Neel Kashkari, means offering better pay rates to job applicants.
“Almost everywhere I go, businesses tell me they can’t find workers. I always ask them the same question: 'Are you raising wages?' Usually, the answer is ‘no.’ When you want more of something but won’t pay for it, that’s called ‘whining,’” he told the ninth Regional Economic Indicators Forum (REIF), founded and co-sponsored by National Bank of Commerce. “Until you’re paying more, I know you’re not serious.”
Delving further, he noted the country’s population growth has slowed, reducing the amount of labor available. Kashkari argued there are only three ways to address the problem:
• Accept slower growth.
• Provide fertility incentives.
• Embrace immigration.
He encouraged companies to help foreign exchange students obtain post graduation credentials to work in this country.
“The idea that we bring students here to get a great education here, then send them home, is insanity. That’s crazy. Second, if businesses really are short of workers, and here is a skilled worker and the business has the ability to sponsor them for immigration (but doesn't) … then they’re not serious about workforce shortages. It’s really easy for businesses to say ‘I want skilled workers, and I want them cheap.’ If you want skilled workers, then you must be willing to pay for them – and if that means sponsoring someone to go through immigration, so be it. If that means paying enough to get them, so be it,” he said