Hands On

Manager's Notebook

What entrepreneurs are telling Inc. about today's labor force

" With low unemployment, we're short on employees around here. And the ones who do come through are unqualified. You'd be surprised by how many people can't read a ruler. It's sad." --Printer in Tennessee

" At one time we had more employees. But they didn't like working early or late. Most of them are now back in the corporate environments they came from. I'm better off with a smaller mix of employees and subcontractors." --High-tech-company owner in Illinois

" I try to hire experts for the period of time I need them rather than create a full-time in-house position." --Franchise owner in New Jersey

" People are a liability. They see us as a temporary stopping-off point. Now we give our drivers money for driving safely, which used to be a given. It's a positive-reinforcement environment; you have to keep throwing out the candy." --Service-firm owner in North Carolina