RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Our nation’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level in nearly 50 years. While the 3.7 percent rate sounds like a good thing for the economy, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Have you noticed the help wanted signs posted throughout the Richmond area? There there are not enough workers to fill available jobs. Businesses are struggling to find good help.
“It’s difficult because of supply and demand,” explains Sandra Keller, the Talent Acquisition Manger for Atlantic Constructors Inc.
The company currently has 124 job openings, nearly triple the positions open just a few years ago.
Most of them are for tradespeople like electricians, plumbers and sheet metal workers.
“People have their pick,” Keller said. “If they get 25 cents somewhere else, they’re going to go somewhere else. They’re job hopping and they don’t have the loyalty and commitment.”
Sign-on and retention bonuses have helped but recruiters at the commercial construction company have to look outside the box to find the people they need.
They’re even reaching out to future tradespeople in elementary and middle schools to build the workforce up.
“We’re trying to educate parents that not all kids are meant to go to college and get their four-year degree, especially when they come out debt free in the trade situation,” Keller added.
The lack of workers is impacting big companies all the way down to mom and pop shops.
But their struggle is an employee’s gain.
Some of the businesses resorting to boosting wages and offering bonuses to land the workers they need.