How Business Leaders Are Managing Staffing Shortages 

May 18, 2022 11:35 am

A quick drive by major retailers and local businesses will tell you all you need to know about the workforce in our area – there are shortages that are impacting almost every corner of our economy.  Examples include: “Help Wanted” signs, signing bonuses, and increased incentives for hourly pay are available around our region. 

Part of our role here at the North Shore Alliance is to report on how businesses are navigating these issues and how to best take action to keep our corner of Massachusetts economically robust. 

How are business leaders handling staffing shortages and what are economists predicting will happen with this issue going forward? Let’s take a closer look. 

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How Dire Is the Labor Shortage? 

According to the Labor Department’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover report, job turnover reached a new high as 4.5 million workers quit their jobs in November 2021. 

A recent jobs report on CNBC noted that, “There are roughly 65 unemployed workers for every 100 job openings, even tighter than the roughly 82 unemployed workers per 100 job openings in February 2020 before the pandemic.” 

Bringing the focus a little closer to home, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has unfortunately made the short list of the top five states with the worst worker shortage according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce report published at the end of last year. 

Labor Shortages – Root Causes 

While there are many reasons why the labor shortages are occurring, economists believe that the pandemic has caused many people to rethink their work family priorities as well as some of these potential root causes: 

  • Lack of affordable childcare and intergenerational care 
  • Desire for more flexibility 
  • Health concerns surrounding the pandemic and vaccine hesitancy
  • Early retirement 
  • Slowing of immigration 
  • Burnout and mental health issues 
  • Desire for increased pay and benefits 

Some of the hardest hit industries for these staffing shortages include the healthcare industry, retail, hospitality, supply chain industries, and the restaurant industry. 

rising economy

Initiatives & Actions 

To counteract the “Great Resignation” of last year and the workforce that can not get back to work due to childcare or eldercare issues, many businesses are increasing incentives. 

Economists suggest individual small and medium-sized businesses take actions to encourage candidates to choose their organization during a job hunt. For instance, here are a few ideas… 

  • Increase pay 
  • Increase benefits 
  • Offer on-the-job training 
  • Offer college, certification, and class reimbursement
  • Food stipends
  • Sign on bonuses
  • Retention bonuses
  • Offer increase hours for current employees

There are a cornucopia of offerings that can be packaged to entice new employees. For more information visit our website and follow our blogs.