Why COVID-19 is Causing a Worker Shortage

Sam Rogal
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If you look at the numbers, America is in a very strange period of unemployment. Not strange because there isn’t a clear cause, but strange because there is both a high number of people looking for work and a high number of open job opportunities. In fact, many companies are struggling to find workers. On paper this is an odd situation, if people are looking for work and companies are looking for workers shouldn’t these two things simply solve each other? When you begin to peel back the layers you will actually see that there are many reasons why companies are struggling to hire during a period of increased unemployment.

Being Employed Right Now Carries Higher Risk

This is one of the more significant reasons that people are not rushing to rejoin the workforce. While the pandemic is getting better it is not over and any job that requires interaction with people carries an inherent risk, even for the vaccinated. A lot of the businesses struggling to hire right now are in the service industry where they are asking their workers to interact with strangers on a daily basis. What was once seen as easy to get survival jobs, like being a server in a restaurant, now carries a brand-new risk to your health. Service workers have a history of not being treated well by customers and having to smile through it to survive on tips. This is no longer acceptable to most people in the service industry with the added risk of their health.

Some People Need to Be Home

The pandemic has moved many activities back inside your home and school is one of them. There are many parents who are still teaching their children at home or who have lost whatever day care system they had for their kids. Others may now be looking after an older relative who is unable to get into an elder care facility. If a person who needs to remain home is looking for work, they are looking for a job they can do from said home and 50% of workers are looking for work from home jobs. The jobs that businesses are having trouble filling are all jobs that require you to be on site which would not work for a person in this situation.

Looking to Switch Industries

COVID 19 has caused many people to re-evaluate their career paths. Many saw their entire industries severely hammered by the shutdowns and they don’t want to ever repeat that process. This has caused people to look for positions that are higher paying, safer, and more recession proof. The industries that fit that criteria; skilled labor positions, tech companies, jobs in the medical field, etc., are seeing a hiring boom, while those that don’t are the ones who are hit hardest by lack of applicants.

Like many effects of COVID-19, we don’t really know how this will all shake out. People are being more cautious when choosing work and want a job that will take care of them if anything like this happens again. We can only hope that businesses in industries like service adjust the pay and demands of the job to make them more attractive to applicants. Job candidates want safety and security, and it is up to these industries to begin providing it.


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