Business Owners Tackle the Issue of a Shrinking Labor Force in Connecticut

Earlier this month, Connecticut Wealth Management (CTWM) launched its Business Owner Roundtable Series. The first event in this series focused on attracting and retaining employee talent and featured guest speaker Chris DiPentima, President and CEO of the CBIA. Denis Horrigan, Partner and co-founder of CTWM, moderated the discussion.

Prominent business owners from several industries, including construction and hospitality, shared their experiences regarding the specific challenges they are facing and their success stories. DiPentima weighed in on what the state is doing to help business owners overcome Connecticut’s shrinking labor crisis.

“Currently, there are around 109,000 job openings in the state of Connecticut,” he said. “Even if every unemployed person found a job, there would still be close to 30,000 open positions remaining.” According to DiPentima, the state’s labor shortage was accelerated by the COVID pandemic because more people decided to retire early or start their own business, which then led to a higher demand for workers.

DiPentima also went on to state how Connecticut has created many barriers from a regulatory viewpoint. With rising taxes, crushing pension liabilities and the number of required occupational licenses, the state has not positioned itself as an attractive area to live or operate a business. Further, he referenced a recent Department of Labor survey that revealed the top two reasons why people remain unemployed is because either they do not have the appropriate skillset, or they are lacking transportation.

Despite these challenges, DiPentima said there is tremendous opportunity in Connecticut and his fellow business owner are also hopeful of the future.

All those in attendance agreed that businesses need to do a better job of partnering with educational institutions across the state to create a workforce pipeline. Internships are a great way to recruit and retain young talent to the state, especially if students are incentivized to stay in the area with a job offer right out of college or high school.

Companies should also consider restructuring their benefits packages to more accurately represent the wants and needs of workers. This can include things like remote work capabilities, childcare offerings, and health/wellness reimbursements. Additionally, organizations must be invested in ongoing career development and provide ample opportunities for employees to grow and make meaningful contributions to the business.

Horrigan ended June’s roundtable discussion by referencing CTWM’s continued commitment to helping business owners achieve their life’s goals with increasing resources and continued education on topics like executive benefit plans, succession planning, employee stock ownership (ESOPs) and the M&A industry.

If you are interested in participating in the next CTWM Business Owner Roundtable, please contact us at 860-470-0290 or by filling out the contact form.