- The skills gap has hit Omaha, Nebraska, where a shortage of drivers has forced Waste Management to adjust its operations and resulted in attempts to woo talent with job fairs and bonuses, the Omaha World-Herald reports.
- The company has had to postpone its promise to collect yard waste separately from household trash and deliver it to a compost plant. Instead, yard waste being sent to the landfill, the paper says; some have expressed concern that this violates the company's contract, but no penalties have been discussed.
- Waste Management is working to increase staffing levels through job fairs and offering signing bonuses. The company has offered $2,000 bonus for new hires that complete one year of service and $4,500 for experienced drivers, the World-Herald says.
Labor shortages are plaguing a variety of industries, as more businesses compete in a continually shrinking talent market. With unemployment at historic lows, finally dropping below 4% this month, employers are facing stiff competition for in-demand workers — and the problem may only get worse, at least one analyst projects.
On top of that, external forces may be tightening the workforce even further. Many industries, particularly in middle-skill markets, are seeing prime-age men leaving the workforce in droves, partly due to opioid addiction. The restaurant and hospitality industries are facing competition from the nascent marijuana industry. And an aging workforce has put serious pressure on employers to upskill those they have on hand.
Employers, in turn, are getting creative. Hiring bonuses appear to be on the rise; Union Pacific railroad is offering bonuses up to $20,000 for new hires, while Disney is offering up to $3,000 for park employees. Others are offering flexible work schedules and professional development opportunities, even in traditionally benefits-light industries like retail. Employers that can react quickly to these changing circumstances may be in the best position to complete for hard-to-find talent.