The US created 850,000 new jobs in June as restrictions were lifted and more of the population was vaccinated. Americans had spent over a year in isolation and now were eager to do all the things they couldn’t do last year, like eat at restaurants and take vacations.
Yet as companies rush to fill new jobs, they’re finding that they can’t find qualified workers. This has led to a growing chorus of “nobody wants to work anymore” – which some companies have even incorporated into signs apologizing for limited service.
You could point to the enhanced unemployment benefits as a logical reason for more people staying home – Which are standard unemployment benefits plus an extra $300 a week (at least until Labor Day when it expires). If people are staying home for this reason, can we assume they will return to work in September? Not exactly. States that have ended these benefits early have not seen the return to work they’d hoped for. According to Gregory Daco, Chief U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics, they’ve found “only a marginal effect.”
So, if it’s not the extra benefits, why are people staying home? Put yourself in the shoes of your candidates. Although many Americans are vaccinated, COVID is still around with more contagious variants. Childcare is also still a major issue for working parents. Children under 12 can’t get vaccinated yet, plus school is off for the summer and many traditional childcare options, such as camps, have reduced capacity.
Those that have returned to work, especially in the service and retail industries, have encountered a changed landscape. We hear stories every day of people in the service and retail industries being accosted by entitled, rude customers. One restaurant in Cape Cod, Massachusetts went as far as to shut down for a “day of kindness” to allow their staff to take a break from the daily abuse.
When you have a safety net of enhanced benefits, and time for childcare options to improve and virus levels to be contained, wouldn’t you protect your health and sanity by staying home as long as you could? An entire country of workers – especially lower wage workers – can afford to wait for a better opportunity. Why go to work for a company that doesn’t care about you, deal with minimum wage, and maximum stress?
The bottom line is, do people not want to work, or do they simply not want to work for certain companies? We are seeing a new kind of worker revolution. Candidates and employees have the power to choose a job that will support them beyond mere compensation.
If you are finding yourself unable to hire, you need to ask yourself if you are providing a company that people would choose to work for. Download our guide on creating a strong employer brand and show candidates that you support, protect, and champion your workers. Make sure you have a recruitment marketing suite like Talemetry to meet your candidates where they are and engage them. Avoid losing top talent by being proactive with internal mobility.
As we’ve seen in our Job Seeker Nation survey results, safety and company culture are extremely important to candidates. Jobvite can help you highlight your commitment to employees and attract top talent to your candidate pool. Take a product tour of our end-to-end talent acquisition suite and contact us for a demo today.