As summer approaches and students go on break, many companies that hire the hourly workforce are planning to ramp up their hiring efforts to fill their increase in job openings. But this year, many hospitality companies are still understaffed and feeling the effects of the pandemic.
With millions more job openings than job seekers already, it’s going to be even more difficult for employers to find seasonal employees.
As of April 2022, there were 11.4 million job openings — about 65% more than in February 2020, but down from 11.9 million in March. There were 5.9 million unemployed people, for a difference of 5.5 million more openings than job seekers. The labor market has added 6.5 million jobs in the past year, on track to reach pre-pandemic levels over the summer. The May jobs report showed that employers continue to add jobs and unemployment remains flat at around 3.6%.
According to a National Restaurant Association report, the restaurant industry is the second-largest seasonal job employer during the summer behind the construction industry. (View summer restaurant trends by state.) While the number of job openings in the restaurants-and-accommodations sector went down from 1.8 million to 1.5 million in March, it was still the 12th consecutive month that the industry had over 1 million job openings. Recruiting and retaining employees remains a challenge for those hiring hourly restaurant workers.
But the report also shows that it’s not just restaurants that are struggling to attract employees: retail, health care, government, and professional and business services also showed to have more than 1 million job openings — in some cases, more than 2 million.
The good news for those in the hospitality and retail industries is that there were 100,000+ more teenagers in the labor force in April 2022 than February 2020 — the highest number of teenagers in the labor force since 2009. While there are fewer 20- to 24-year-olds in the labor force now vs. February 2020, the report concludes by saying the key to filling the seasonal vacancies will be figuring out how to incentivize teens and young adults to get them into the workforce.
11 Tips for Recruiting and Retaining Gen Z Workers
So how do you get teens and young adults to join the workforce and your company?
Here are a few tips:
- Use video to get their attention: make it fun with music and movement to highlight your company culture
- Share your openings on job boards and across social media (including LinkedIn)
- Keep the application process fast and easy
- When you find someone you want to hire, do it quickly
- Get referrals from current employees
- Make sure your hourly rate at least matches or is higher than your competitors
- If you have good benefits and perks, promote them
- Offer flexible schedules
- Highlight causes that your company supports
- Make job responsibilities and expectations super clear from the very beginning
- Continue to support and train them
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