Lofty sign-on bonuses, job security, pensions...many local employers are finding that even these lofty incentives aren't enough to entice workers to apply, even for those traditionally-sought-after government jobs.
"It's a pretty unique situtaion that we would have never thought that we would have problems trying to hire for a permanent government position in central New York," says Edward Aboundader, President of National DFAS/AFGE Council, in Rome. And not all DFAS jobs require a college degree.
"We have entry-level technician positions here that are extremely good government jobs with benefits," says Abounader, adding that the Defense Finance and Accounting Service is seeking to hire 60 to 80 people.
The hiring drought is affecting multiple industries, locally. Wisk Baking Co., in downtown Utica, offers a sweet work environment. But they find themselves asking family to help out, because they, too, are experiencing an unprecedented lack of applicants.
"We would get applicants in here daily, multiple times a day, who were asking for applications. We would print 50 a week and we would run out all the time. Now, I don't think in the last year I've had maybe one, maybe two people ask for an application," says Manager, Douglas Allen-Leonard.
Many blame enhanced pandemic unemployment benefits. The max benefit in New York State, with the $300 pandemic benefit, is $804/wk., which is roughly $42,000/yr., which makes it tough for any job that pays less than $20 an hour to compete with unemployment.
The employee shortage affects business; restaurant workers must leave the dining room to answer and put away food deliveries, because they don't have employees to do it. Business owners say they are trying, hard, to hire workers.
"That's sort of what we're asking people to do is be patient with all businesses during this because we all took a huge hit during this pandemic and now, people are coming back in droves back to these businesses, but we're so short staffed. It's definitely not our fault. We're trying our best. I know 100 businesses now struggling to find help," says Allen-Leonard.