AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) — It’s summer job season, but getting help when help is needed is a post-pandemic challenge.
Job openings in both states are among the highest in the nation, and that’s forcing local business owners to think outside the box to compete for workers.
From summer essentials to last-minute gifts, Communigraphics’ shelves are full of fabulous finds, but the hottest commodity isn’t on the counter.
Liz: “How’s the job search going?”
Traci Hooks, President, Communigraphics: “Horrible.”
It’s behind the counter.
Hooks: “I thought I put in the wrong email address for people to send in their CVs. I literally did because probably for the first four days we had no candidates.
Hooks knows how to adapt when trends change.
Hooks: “I’ve never seen that. Never again.”
This is a first in 20 years in retail.
Hooks: “We’ve offered three or four jobs over the past two weeks and we’ve had three applicants.”
Liz: “What’s normal?”
Hooks: “We would have had 20-80 applicants years ago before COVID.”
Data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows unemployment is down 75% and the two-state region has one of the highest rates of new hires. Yet Hooks is still struggling to fill positions at its North Augusta store. She is not alone.
South Carolina has the fourth highest rate of job vacancies in the country across the river. Georgia comes in at number two.
Liz: “How frustrating is that? »
Hooks: “It’s incredibly frustrating because you set a level of service and expect a certain type of employee to be able to provide that service.”
People are quitting their jobs in retail, hotels and restaurants more than in any other industry. According to the Pew Research Center, the main reason given by workers for leaving a job last year: low pay.
Hooks: “I’ve seen a lot of people do jobs they’re not qualified for.”
Liz: “Did that happen to you here? »
Brackets: “Oh yeah, multiple times.”
But Hooks is adapting to the changing workforce, tapping into an unlikely pool of candidates.
Hooks: “What we see is that a lot of candidates haven’t done much in the last four or five years.”
Hooks: “We replaced full-time jobs with part-time jobs. We proposed to people to fix their hours or their days of the week.
It’s a trade-off she’s willing to make to staff her business. A big concern for Aiken County small business owners is the impact year-round school will have on staff next year.
Working mothers all needing vacation or childcare at the same time could impact enrollment when school is closed and summer programs are unavailable for children.
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