COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – According to a recent analysis of federal labor statistics, 42 states, including Texas, have more vacancies available than job seekers, and local business owners feel it the effects.
Many of them are changing the way they run their businesses to cope with today’s hiring environment. Some say they realize more and more that good help is really harder and harder to find.
Cody Whitten is the owner of Gate 12 Bar & Grill and J. Cody’s Steaks & Barbeque.
âWe are constantly challenged by hiring. It never stops, and more than ever before, âsaid Whitten. âWhen we receive an application, we call them immediately. We don’t wait. We welcome them as soon as possible and hire them as quickly as possible. Otherwise, someone else catches them.
Hiring problems don’t just affect the restaurant industry. Aggieland Outfitters deputy director of retail operations Jake Zamora said the retail business was having issues with this as well.
âWe definitely had some trouble finding people,â Zamora said. âWe found different channels across the Aggie network and community to find great candidates who joined us and helped us through this difficult time. “
Whitten says they have openings in all types of jobs, from waiters to bartenders to kitchen staff. He says staff turnover is high in his restaurants and it’s difficult to consistently train employees who leave after just a few weeks.
âTo retain people, we have increased wages,â said Whitten. âWe pay several employees overtime just to fill vacant positions. It costs us more to do it. It also puts pressure on other employees who work those longer hours, and sometimes we have lost people just because we ask them to work a lot.
Because hiring and retaining employees has become so difficult, Whitten says they don’t care about certain qualifications anymore. They have to take whatever they can.
âWe would love to have someone here who is qualified, but unfortunately sometimes we don’t have that choice,â said Whitten.
Zamora says workers at Aggieland Outfitters are also working longer hours. He says they searched internally for opportunities to fill the hiring gap.
âWe took this opportunity to develop them as young employees to take on more responsibility if they can,â Zamora said. âHere at Aggieland Outfitters, we are really proud to be a company that is growing organically, so we took this opportunity during the pandemic to develop our staff.â
Both say they hope the hiring outlook improves. Zamora says they have recently seen an increase in the number of applicants.
âAs we get back to normal as a community, hopefully by the new year or spring we will be up and running again and have the same type of candidates we had before COVID. “
But Whitten says he doesn’t know how long the current circumstances will last.
âThat’s a great question,â Whitten said. âWe are continually trying to think outside the box on how to get someone here to apply for a job. We’re trying everything we can to get people here. It cannot go on forever. We need to get back to some normalcy in our society and overcome COVID. I think things will come back, but we don’t know.
Whitten says many restaurant owners in town are suffering from exactly the same issues, in addition to hiring issues, they also face rising costs for food and supply issues.
âAt the end of October, I felt like things were starting to pick up speed,â Whitten said. âBut sales are down, wages and input prices are up, so it’s a huge challenge. It just makes it harder to not be able to hire someone. “
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