SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- The Workforce Development Department says there are not enough people looking for jobs right now. Some of that has to do with what people look for in a job.
“At some point, money’s not a motivator. There are other things that the job seeks are demanding now. There’s a lot of emphases now on workplace culture. There’s a lot of emphasis on those flexible or remote work options,” Interim Director of the Workforce Development Department Sally Payne said.
The minimum wage in Springfield is roughly $10 an hour. The livable wage is about $13 an hour. Some employers are paying more and adding other incentives to get people to fill out an application.
“We’ve seen a lot of employers with sign-on bonuses,” Payne said. “3 months, 6 months, and 9-month retention bonuses. It’s competitive to onboard an employee and gets those workers in there. But it’s also competitive to retain that workforce.”
Diane Penny is a 66-year-old looking for a job, but that is not stopping her.
“What’s scary for me is my age,” Penny said. “[People] will probably think ‘well she can’t do anything.’ Actually, I can.”
Penny is looking for a positive workforce environment.
“I’ve heard Costco is really good with their people,” Penny said. “I also heard amazon is, but I heard it’s real fast.”
Amazon was at the Job Center Wednesday looking to hire people for its new location in Republic.
“It’s very competitive out there for employers,” Payne said.
Springfield is just one of many cities in the nation facing a labor shortage.
“COVID just accelerated what was going to happen anyway,” Payne said. “We basically have a population decrease going on which got accelerated because of COVID. We also had a million more baby boomers exit the workforce and COVID accelerated that as well.”
Employers are struggling to replace baby boomers with younger generations, leaving them shorthanded and vulnerable.