According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 270,000 Pennsylvanians are unemployed.
Despite these low numbers, state firms are still having trouble hiring.
Local companies told CBS 21 that the employment market favors candidates, requiring employers to change their recruiting methods.
“I definitely think it is an applicant-driven market,” said Signature Staffing founder and CEO Pamela Hill. “I think clients have had to make some concessions and changes to the mindset that employees will work the traditional nine-to-five or eight-to-five schedule.”
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, local businesses have been short-staffed.
Hardware Resources Regional Warehouse Manager Korbin Rauhauser said, “Mostly the challenges we had were just individuals wanting to show up every day, a lot of people wanting to work part-time rather than full-time.”
Pandemic-related early retirement and protracted unemployment persist.
“When we have conversations with businesses and we talk about them wanting to expand or even relocate here in the Harrisburg Capital Region, the first thing they’re going to ask is, ‘Where am I going to find workers?'” said Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC President & CEO Ryan Unger.
Central Pennsylvania firms also face this labor shortage.
“Cumberland County has, historically, enjoyed very low unemployment,” said Cumberland County Commissioner Jean Foschi. Unemployment and manpower shortages make it hard for small firms.”
Thus, many companies use staffing agencies.
“I worked with Pamela and her staff,” Rauhauser said. “They kept the clients coming the best they could, and we got through it.”
Firms are having to compromise when hiring.
Hill acknowledged the need for collaboration, saying, “I think there is some flexibility that has been brought to the table because of the shortage of workers.”
Governor Shapiro’s Executive Order, which removes college degrees for many state government posts, has affected staffing agencies.
Hill said, “I think what’s happened because of that mandate, I think other employers in the area are seeing that it’s working at a state level, so they’re willing to give it a try as well.”
In a tight labor market, companies value skills and potential.
Unger added, “You’ve got to focus on the individual, what can they do, what skills do they have, and how you can bring them in and potentially train or skill them up.”