Business Insider

Treasure Valley business executives: We must pay for skilled employees

You get what you pay for.

That’s the mantra chanted by local business leaders in the Treasure Valley looking to hire, especially those needing highly trained workers.

Business Insider’s latest quarterly survey of Treasure Valley business leaders provides a checkered view from the top of Idaho’s workforce. Respondents say their job applicants generally have good work habits but often lack needed skills.

And the leaders have a nuanced outlook on the minimum wage that may bode well for those who favor raising it. None favored lowering or abolishing it.

William Gilbert Jr., cofounder and managing director of The Caprock Group, says Caprock opens its checkbook to compete for the best money-managing talent.

“Caprock has a philosophy of paying above-market compensation to attract the highest quality talent available,” Gilbert says. “This does not change regardless of fluctuations in the labor market.”

TSheets CEO Matt Rissell says his timecard-software company hires skilled workers who are in demand — and keeps them — by offering good wages, benefits and company culture.

“While the tightening labor force may make it slightly more difficult to hire for the right roles, I don’t believe it will have a significant impact on our payroll,” Rissell says.

Northwest Bank President Rob Perez says he used to think that raising the wage would just increase the costs of goods and services, hurting the ability of Idaho businesses to compete. Now, he says he agrees with economists saying that $150 billion in increased wage costs would be offset by $40 billion in reduced social welfare.

“Ordinarily, I would not want to legislate wage rates and am a free market advocate,” Perez says. “However, the current concentration of wealth has the potential to be destabilizing socially, and it occurs to me that a wage adjustment is a reasonable step in the right direction.”