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  • Shelley Maxey, Talent Acquisition Manager

Does it seem like you're seeing more "Now Hiring" advertisements than you're used to? Here's why.

Back in May we couldn’t help but notice the staggering increase of Americans flocking to newly reopened restaurants and venues. I initially thought this was a good sign. Employers were reopening, and with all the layoffs and past increase of unemployment, and people eager to get out and do more, this might mean we can start to see job seekers ready to fill jobs.

Instead, as a Recruiter, what I can’t help but notice is the oddly high number of “Now Hiring” signs. Alongside residential roads and being advertised on the side of businesses, on billboards and on buildings everywhere.

As employers take steps towards permanently reestablishing, and there is an increase in vaccination numbers, we are in the midst of what some are calling a "vaccination job boom". Meaning that the roaring job gains should continue as the vaccination pace accelerates.

Employers have added 559,000 new jobs in May of 2021. Which is actually a slowdown compared to the 770,000 jobs created in March.*

It’s no secret that we have seen quite a shift in the U. S. unemployment rate. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate has increased from 3.9 percent pre-COVID to 5.9 percent just this June. Including 9.5 million unemployed Americans.

Even though there have been a steady number of jobs, and now what seems to be people to fill them, many workers still aren’t willing to be employed.

Employers are holding massive job fairs, offering incentives to return to work, calling back furloughed employees, and even going as far as offering money to people just to show up for an interview. Many Americans are in full swing with their routines of going to bars and out to eat, getting on planes, going to gyms, and overall feeling vaccinated and comfortable to get back into an environment dense with people. Which makes it discouraging to see some industries in these cities and states still suffering from being extremely short staffed.

When someone is searching for a new job, it's usually because they are ready to make a lateral change or seek a similar position with a new employer. Giving them the ability to be more selective with their efforts. At the start of COVID when unemployment was dropping drastically, workers were ridden with fear. Suddenly finding themselves in a rush to apply for anything and everything. More resumes from CEO's and Management level roles were flooding in for entry level hourly positions than we could've imagined. But, with the decrease in available jobs, people were left feeling helpless and frustrated after not hearing back from employers at all.

“When people lose their jobs, they often engage in a flurry of job search activity, they send off 20 applications, and then they sit back and wait to hear back from employers," said Julia Pollak, labor economist for Zip Recruiter.

We're now facing the opposite problem.

Not only are some employers finding it difficult just to continue to employ the workers that they've been able to attain during the pandemic, they're now struggling financially to pay for new ones. Aside from the organizations accrued debts, job seekers are suddenly demanding more pay because they need to catch up from the impact of the last year. Or, simply because there is more of a demand for jobs and people can literally go down the street for an extra dollar.

Economic impact payments are also playing a factor for those who are just waiting it out.

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment (PEU) Compensation program has been extended through September 2021. Under the CARES Act, all states provided 13 additional weeks of funded Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance benefits, followed by additional federally funded weeks in states with high unemployment.

For some states, like California, Texas, and Illinois, those are benefits that equate to a total of 39 weeks. Being provided the regular number of Unemployment Insurance of 26 paid weeks plus an additional 13 weeks of extended available benefits.

“I had one guy quit who said I can make more on unemployment. I’ll take the summer off,” said Robert Stevenson, CEO of Eastman Machine Company, a producer of machines that cut specialty fabrics for industry. “I told him I can’t guarantee you’ll have your job back. He said, ‘I’ll take my chances.’”

We are also in a never-before-seen shift in reasons for workers to halt their job search efforts.

There’s a significant change in family obligations for many Americans. From the need to manage new childcare accommodations to remote learning for children in the public school system. Forcing job seekers to reevaluate their availability and change their focus around who will work in the household and who won’t.

There are other factors too, like workplace standards.

Nearly half of job seekers want to be remote. With employers initially allowing positions to go remote during the pandemic, workers are now actively searching for opportunities where working remotely is non negotiable. What was set to be a temporary solution for some organizations has turned into a permanent workplace standard for many professionals.

We're still facing continued coronavirus concerns too. Workers wanting to feel safe. Industries like travel, leisure, hospitality, and construction are still seeing an impact in hesitation. Many people don’t want to trade their personal safety for a job quite yet.

With the change in these demands, people are also reevaluating their skillset. Making the question come up of whether or not a worker can transition into a completely new role that allows them to do something in a new field or work remotely or online. It may require online learning and new education to “reskill”.

It’s going to be a problem if employers and job seekers can’t come to some kind of understanding. Employers must look at ways to make their companies and open positions more attractive. Which could be anything from improving benefits, cultivating safety, creating a more respectful culture, and improving wages. On the other hand, job seekers should also make a shift in changing their mentality towards taking action and seek out a great company to join. Our economy will continue to suffer if workers remain stagnant, wait until unemployment runs dry, or if they refuse an opportunity because not every job box is checked on their must haves.

About the Author: Shelley Maxey is Olympus Property's Talent Acquisition Manager. Leading the organization's nationwide talent efforts with a priority focus on building credible relationships with internal teams and cultivating the Olympus core values of Teamwork, Trust, Family, Fun and being Customer Centered. To ensure a prosperous environment with support to Olympus partners and Hiring Managers nationwide, with a vision of growing the organization through developing and implementing the Olympus Way in best practices for recruiting methods, materials and strategies, in order to standardize the discovery and delivery of recruiting processes.

Follow Shelley and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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