Corinne Zudonyi

Last month, my husband and I took our first road trip across state lines since 2019. Throughout our drive, we saw sign after sign marketing job opportunities — the majority of which were displayed in restaurant and retail establishments. Hoping to hook a passerby, many of these signs included elevated hourly pay and signing bonuses.

Although reports indicate that these two industries are some of the most impacted by worker shortages, it seems no profession is exempt from the challenge. Notable job postings occurred in hospitality, public and private education, professional and business services, and service industries including janitorial. But even though cleaning is deemed essential and end users have seen drastic increases in workload and cleaning demand, labor is tough to come by.

The majority of building service contractors I've talked to have openings, which in the past would generate 40 to 50 applicants. Today, though, these same employment opportunities are garnering closer to a dozen interested, but not always qualified, candidates.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 9.5 million people are currently unemployed. Economists initially blamed government financial support for the slowdown of worker interest. It was discovered that the stimulus payouts were larger than many low-paying service jobs. In cleaning, the checks were comparable to wages for frontline workers giving candidates pause about pursuing these open positions.

The resulting rising demand for labor has forced businesses to re-evaluate their pay structures at every level. The BLS reports that the majority of American businesses are looking at bumps of at least 10 cents per hour — more for positions that require special skills. These pay increases might attract workers and get them in the door, but we know that salary alone won't keep them. It's important that businesses focus on retention efforts, especially in this volatile job market. According to the Department of Labor, the number of people who quit or voluntarily left a job seeking greener pastures jumped 83 percent in the month of June alone.

There is good news, though. It is expected that the economy will grow at least 6 percent this year and bring many of those 9.5 million unemployed Americans back to work. The hope, too, is that job seekers will settle in and stay for the long haul, assuming you have retention strategies in place to make that happen.