FRA Workforce Webinar – Poll Data Summary
On March 14, 2023, I hosted a webinar for Forest Resources Association members about the Wisconsin Forestry Careers Coalition (WFCC), a workforce recruitment and development initiative for the state of Wisconsin. Twenty-nine (29) webinar attendees responded to a poll that gauged aspects of their organizations’ workforce development and recruitment needs.
Thirty-four percent (34%) of webinar participants represented the Lake States region, while the others represented the Southcentral, Western, Northeast, Southeastern, and Appalachian regions. The Lake States Region participants reflected all sectors, apart from biomass and engineered wood products. Next to “other,” pulp, paper, and packaging was the most represented sector amongst participants (Fig. 1).
Sixty-nine percent (69%) of respondents indicated that workforce recruitment, development, and retention all present importance to their organization. An additional 14% of respondents shared that recruitment is most important to their organization. Yet, workforce development, recruitment, and retention challenges have limited organizational growth, according to 72% of respondents.
Participants were asked to identify the workforce development and recruitment areas most critical to their organization (Fig. 2). Truck drivers and logging equipment operators were the most frequently reported critical jobs for workforce development and recruitment. The poll also indicated that recruiting professional laborers, including engineers and foresters, may be vital to an organization in this field. Emphasizing and prioritizing intra-organizational recruitment strategies that target truck drivers, logging equipment operators, and professional laborers may yield a more robust workforce.
Fig. 1: Distribution of Participants by Sector
Fig. 2: Job Category Prioritization of Workforce Development and Recruitment