ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- For months employers in the region and across the nation have been saying there are not enough workers to go around. From hospitality to foodservice and healthcare, a lack of workers is affecting all industries.
Two local employment agencies said there is indeed a worker shortage and that the end of pandemic unemployment benefits has not driven people back into the workforce right away as some had anticipated.
Jordan Modiano, the owner of Express Employment Professionals, said between two offices in Albany and Saratoga he could put approximately 500 people to work in light industry or administrative positions this week alone. He also said employers are using increased pay rates and benefits to entice people to work for them.
“A lot of people are sitting on the sidelines. Choosing not to participate or removing themselves from the workforce,” said Modiano. “If you want to work, there’s work.”
He described the demand from his clients as “astronomical” and said minimum wage is not a factor in the Capital Region, because employers have raised rates substantially in the hopes of attracting candidates.
CEO of Walrath Recruiting, Inc., Renee Walrath, said no one industry they serve is struggling to find employees more than another, across the board they are all struggling to find workers. Her company is finding candidates that fit client needs but it’s taking more time and effort to do so.
“We’re not waiting for resumes to fall on our desk,” she said.
Walrath, like Modiano, said her clients have raised wages and increased benefits to recruit employees. They both agree the worker shortage is a complex issue, not attributable to a single cause. Both also say they are seeing healthcare professionals like registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, or nurse practitioners wanting to move from clinical to non-clinical positions or move to other industries entirely.
They both said they have talked to healthcare workers who are looking for jobs or companies that will not require them to get vaccinated for COVID. Modiano said its challenging for his agency to place former healthcare workers because their skills are not always transferable.
Walrath further elaborated on the topic of COVID vaccine mandates by saying that a month ago 20% of her clients were having conversations about vaccines, mandates, and weekly testing. She said every day more clients are talking about these issues and how it pertains to future employees.
To prevent valuable employees from jumping ship, Walrath said the best thing employers can do is to talk with them before they take another position and try to find out what the employee needs or is looking for.
Will people go back to work? Modiano said he expects a slow return of people into the workforce and maybe by the holidays it will be a different scenario. Eventually people will want to return to work, he said.
“Humans want to do something to contribute to society. Most people want to see ‘good’ win. People have a legacy to leave,” he added.