A common misconception is that the "common laborer" you encounter falls into the "unskilled labor" category. In discussions I have with others, I sometimes hear things like "well they're just laborers, anybody could do their job. Wow! DO these people need to get up-to-date!
Sure, there are plenty of "general labor" jobs where anyone who can fog a mirror could be pressed into service, but there are in every industry "laborers" that don't fit into the category of "tradesmen", but who have a vital role, and need to have a set of skills to do their job.
For example, in the Construction Industry, here are some of the categories of "LABORER" that the U.S. Department of Labor includes as skilled labor (and have specific "prevailing wages" defined under the Davis-Bacon Act)
- power tool operator
- small machine operator
- concrete labor including concrete preparation
- laser beam operator
- open caisson
- test pit
- pier hole and ditches
- laggers and all work associated with lagging
- operator of hand derricks
- vibrator operators
- pipe layers
- tile layers (tile laid on road construction projects ONLY)
- operators of jackhammer
- paving breakers
- spaders or any machine that does the same general type of work
- scaffold builders
- operators of towmasters
- buggymobiles and other machines of similar character
- operators of tampers and rammers and other machines that do the same general type of work, whether powered by air, electric or gasoline
- builders of trestle scaffolds over one tier high
- sand blaster
- power and chain saw operators used in clearing
- installers of well points
- wagon drill operators
- acetylene burners and
- licensed powdermen.
After looking at this list, it should be clear that these laborers need to have specific skills, right? Ask yourself, in the "War for Talent", what are you doing to recruit people with these skills, test for these skills, or development of these skills?