Two essential safety nets in the event of a pandemic ended in September: expanded unemployment benefits and eviction assistance established by the CARES law in March 2020. Employers who expected an influx of job seekers are waiting to fill vacancies. We polled our recruiting teams nationwide to take the pulse. Read on to find out what we learned.
Millions of Americans were affected by the change in benefits and support that ended in September. Jobs experts predicted that with the end of extended unemployment benefits, millions of job openings across the country would start to fill up as more people looked for work.
LGC, headquartered in Indianapolis, has been in the recruiting industry for nearly 20 years and has offices in 40 cities across the country. Our teams are ready for an influx of candidates. We asked our office managers nationwide what they see, hear and feel. Here is what we learned.
- Despite staff shortages, vacancies continue to grow in various industries including healthcare, hospitality / catering and warehousing.
- Managers receive applications, showing that the desire to find work is there.
- In some cases, applicants simply do not finalize the hiring process.
- Success in hiring and staffing is seen in states where benefits ended earlier and wages were increased, but the effect took up to 60 days to materialize.
LGC officials believe they will have a better idea of whether the hiring situation will improve at the start of the fourth quarter, based on feedback from staff in states where benefits ended earlier. It is managers who tell us that they are now seeing an increase in the number of people returning to work. We also watch national reports to predict when people will return to work.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there are 8.4 million potential unemployed workers, but it also indicates that there is a record 10.9 million open jobs. The rate at which the unemployed find jobs is lower than it was before the pandemic, and it takes longer to hire people.
Several national media outlets share stories of job seekers who say employers don’t respond. With so many vacancies, HR professionals don’t have enough time to respond to everyone. On average, for each job offer, an employer receives more than 100 applications. Only 20% of them are surveyed, according to Forbes. Many companies use talent management software with AI technology and recent articles show that it eliminates bad (talented) candidates.
A white paper published in August by researchers at Columbia University, Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Toronto, indicates that states ended federal benefits earlier than unemployed. Employment jumped 4.4 points relative to those unemployed in states that maintained the flow of benefits. The report uses data from the first week of August. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But this translates into one in eight unemployed people returning to work.
Analysis and researchers’ comments show that extended unemployment benefits, which ended in early September, play a small role. Our managers’ comments echo this comment. Maybe the on-time and gigs employees have found they are in demand and can be picky.
Clients who are successful in staffing and hiring offer better wages and better work environments. We’ve all read the stories and heard from employees that flexibility is now a priority. It’s a return to basics. Employees want simple things: a good living wage, a positive work environment and respect. Study after study this year shows these preferences.
Many of our concert workers are in hospitality-related positions. We know some workers are not ready to return to the workforce due to fear of contracting COVID. Others just don’t want to interact with people frustrated with protocols, regulations, and requirements that choose to prey on people working in hotels, restaurants, and other public places. The most recent story has come from New York City where a hostess following warrants established by city officials was attacked by out-of-town visitors when she requested immunization cards. Management who supports staff in these situations will win the hearts and minds of their team members and future staff.
So what’s the answer? Often times, finding a recruiting or recruiting partner can balance the hiring burden for companies with open positions and limited human resource staff. Going the old-fashioned way and reading resumes or asking people within a company to make recommendations for vacancies can help fill those jobs cheaper and faster.
With brand name companies in need of staff for the holiday season, we expect more people to return to the workforce soon. Having the right tools and systems in place will be key to ensuring that vacancies are filled by putting the right people in the right positions to ensure success.
George Lessmeister is CEO and Founder of LGC Hospitality, a hotel staffing company that works with hotel and restaurant executives. The company is headquartered in Indianapolis and operates in more than 30 cities across the country.