Labor shortage affects employer treatment

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There’s a labor shortage in the U.S. and, according to our guest, it’s due in great part to people re-thinking their life and career options. We learned more from Elizabeth Castillo, from ASU’s College of Integrative Sciences & Arts.

“One of the things to realize is that this has been a problem that has been in the making for a long time. It’s just the pandemic that has been the perfect storm that has caused it to become a crisis,” Castillo said. She mentioned that several industries, specially the hospitality and service industry,  have had a big problem with turnover, losing up to 140% of their work force each year.

With COVID-19 hitting the country, many people were left unemployed or working from home where they were able to reconsider their career choices. Worries about workplace safety and health concerns, care-giving responsibilities, low wages and no benefits, and the sudden surge in hiring as the country reopens all came together to create this employment emergency.

Castillo mentioned that quarantine caused many people to do a bit of “soul searching” or reevaluating new career paths that will give them a greater sense of purpose. Looking for jobs where they’re not going to be so subject to displacement by automation has also been a direct cause of the changes COVID-19 brought. Castillo said there has been some research on the impact that government stimulus checks played on the employment crisis, however it was rather small, and it was these other issues that really caused a big impact.

Castillo said that with this labor shortage should have employers thinking about what kind of environment they are creating for their employees. She said that a saying to go by is, “workers don’t leave jobs, they leave bad bosses.” Also, working on employee retention and skill development will keep employees learning and growing in their jobs, therefore creating greater satisfaction.

Elizabeth Castillo, ASU College of Integrative Sciences & Arts
Assistant Professor, Leadership and Interdisciplinary Studies

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