In 2022, Small Businesses Are Still Facing a Labor Shortage. Here’s Why.

labor shortage

COVID-19 hit the U.S. at full force in March of 2020. Small businesses were among the hardest hit. Many were forced to close their doors permanently. As a company with decades of experience and stability, BYX was able to weather the storm. Sadly, the full ramifications of the pandemic are still unfolding. Even now, we’re struggling to find qualified, reliable workers, and we’re not the only ones. Businesses around the country are facing a frustrating labor shortage, and there appears to be no end in sight. What gives?

The pandemic caused a long-term shift in job distribution

Throughout the pandemic, small businesses had a harder time staying afloat than massive corporations. Now that the economy has rebounded and people are less concerned about contracting COVID-19, it was assumed that open positions would be filled in a flash. That wasn’t the case. According to CNBC, over half of all small business owners said that it has become harder to find qualified workers. Companies with fewer than 50 employees are facing the worst of it, but it’s an issue for larger companies as well.

With 6.665 million jobs added across the U.S. during 2021, and an unemployment rate of just 3.8%, where are people finding jobs if not on Main Street? By the looks of it, they’re flocking to larger companies with 500 or more employees. By definition, larger companies can offer better benefits and more perks than their smaller counterparts. Yelp offers workers reimbursement for gym memberships, athletic wear, massages, and other services that benefit employee health. Google offers free lunches, free cooking classes, and on-site fitness facilities. Even mid-sized companies offering competitive salaries and benefits are hard-pressed to keep up. 

Workers have also adapted to working from home

Google, Yelp and many other corporate giants offer flexible work models that allow employees to either work fully remotely or to work onsite for only part of the week. For most businesses, in-person workers are a necessity, but fewer and fewer people are looking for jobs of this nature. The more manual labor a job requires, the fewer applications are received. Essentially, no one wants to work like they used to. Filling truck driving jobs, for example, is tough. If the trend continues, it could become an even more serious issue that will impact consumers more directly.

How companies can combat the labor shortage

While small and mid-sized businesses can’t light a candle to Google in many regards, that’s not to say that they’re powerless to fill the positions they’ve had listed on Indeed for months. There are several steps they can take to improve their chances of attracting and retaining the right people for the job.

  1. Step up recruiting efforts
    In 2022, online recruiting is the way to go. Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter are just a few of the options available. For best results, list open positions on multiple platforms. Don’t forget to list and share them on social media, too!
  2. Streamline training procedures
    Retention rates consistently rise when companies have well-established onboarding practices. Give new employees the tools and support they need to adapt to their new position with ease and do their job with confidence from the start.
  3. Offer development and growth opportunities
    When workers believe they have a chance to advance their career, they’re more likely to continue working where they are. If possible, demonstrate the possibility of advancement and career development to encourage long-term loyalty.
  4. Give them reasons to stay

Offer the best benefits you can, and make sure your management practices are on point. A healthy work environment starts from the top. Make sure employees feel respected and valued, and offer well-being initiatives to show you genuinely care. Workers who feel their employer considers them an asset to the company are more likely to actually be one. Plus, they’re more likely to share open positions with a friend. 

The labor shortage will likely be a struggle for some time. In the meantime, automate whatever you possibly can. Invest in the latest technology to reduce the amount of manual tasks as much as possible. And if you have a steadfast employee who does a great job, don’t forget to show your appreciation!

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