“Short Staffed Is Our New Pandemic” was the sign I saw on a door at a busy restaurant in Florida last month while I was on vacation. I thought to myself, wow what a great way to explain a bad situation to hungry patrons. The sign went on to say, “We’re grateful for the staff members that did show up and hope you are too. So please show it by being patient and understanding with all staff members. Thank you, Management.”
From Alaska to Florida, being short staffed is something everyone is dealing with, and not just in the hospitality industry but all manner of industries. One of my recent flights back to Alaska was delayed because they were waiting on a replacement cabin crew member. On another, travelers couldn’t check their bags because no staff were manning the counter (they did show up a little later and used mobile phones to line bust and check folks faster – thank you Alaska Airlines). So where have all the workers gone?
Some industries are hiring more than ever, like the health care industry, with little doubt because as all parts of the country are dealing with increased demand on their services. Not surprisingly, larger companies are also snapping up workers as well, with most being able to offer more pay and benefits to employees looking to make more or for a career change. The result being that small businesses are struggling to keep up, let alone compete with these large companies. Couple that with those same companies still offering remote work, you start to see that it looks more like a migration than a temporary change.
In addition, aging workers are retiring, with some retiring earlier than expected. We are also seeing less people moving to the state, and fewer foreign workers coming in for seasonal jobs. So, while many see the pandemic as being mostly over, for some the effects are still an everyday struggle.
Read more about the labor shortage in Alaska but across the nation:
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