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Businesses Still Struggling to Find Workers

The delta variant has had more impact.

I recently read a story about the troubles that businesses in England are having with finding workers. The information shared below is very similar to their experiences, with one twist. Brexit, the agreement that took England out of the European Union, now limits the ability of English businesses to tap into the European employee base of many more people. It used to be easy to bring in workers from these other countries, but not today.

See the information below on the current status of businesses and hiring workers, from Alignable:

Alignable’s September Hiring Poll is out today and shows that the labor shortage many industries have experienced this summer is only getting worse, due to the Delta variant surges.

in a survey of 4,079 small business owners conducted from 8/15 to 9/13/21, 66% reported having a "very difficult" time finding the right employees to fill open roles, many of which are necessary to help them drive revenue and rebound.

Given Delta surges and an escalating labor shortage, looking at the last three months, it's clear to see that many small businesses are sadly moving backwards in their recovery. 

In July, only 50% of all small business owners said they’re having trouble finding the right help. That figure jumped to 59% last month, and now has gone up another 7% to 66%. And the sectors that suffered the most earlier this summer are also in worse shape when it comes to hiring now.

Despite these struggles, Alignable also learned in its poll that the No. 1 way employers have found people to hire (37%), and employees have found side gigs (35%), is through personal referrals and networking.

Topping the list, now 85% of restaurants report it’s very difficult to find the right help. That’s up 5% from August and 11% from July. 

  • Manufacturers are in a similar situation. In July, 62% had trouble finding help, and that percentage jumped to 72% in August, and 83% in September. 
  • Other industries experiencing escalating labor shortages include automotive, construction, and beauty. 
  • Among beauty shop owners, 59% struggled to hire help in July. In September, that figure was 74%.
  • And retailers are having a tougher time each month, as well. In July, 47% struggled to find the right help. But in September, 61% reported having trouble. 

Other findings include that 47% of employers have combated the shortage by elevating salaries for everyone they employ. And 23% said they reduced hours to cut expenses.

Meanwhile, 26% said they finally gave up on finding someone and/or decided just to do the work themselves.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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