MANKATO — Despite the ongoing worker shortage, businesses taking on extra help during the holidays, particularly retail stores, still find a ready supply of short-term employees.
“There are so many college students here who work in retail settings. They’re not usually looking for long-term employment,” said Leah Macgregor, manager of Spherion Staffing Services in North Mankato.
“We see retired people who want to work for a couple of months and college students who want to work into the winter break.”
Reggie Worlds, area manager of CareerForce, said that while many people coming to his office are looking for full-time, often skilled jobs, they do see people looking for seasonal retail positions.
“Some people come in looking specifically for retail because that’s what they were in, or it’s convenient for their school schedule.”
CareerForce is a part of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development that has area offices in the downtown Mankato Place, in Fairmont and in New Ulm.
“We’re always here to assist people. We have lots of workshops and classes to help people prepare for work and connect them with employers so they have those opportunities to succeed,” Worlds said.
He said whatever job someone’s looking for, it remains an employees’ market.
“Consistently we’re hearing from a large number of employers that they’re hiring and we have a shrinking labor force and people retiring. There are lots of opportunities for people.”
He said many clients are looking to improve their skills, either through classes and workshops at CareerForce, or by getting certificates at South Central College for skilled jobs such as welding.
“Our resource room is never empty.”
He said the number of people seeking unemployment insurance in the region is at very low levels. “There aren’t a lot of people people lingering, they’re looking for opportunities.”
Macgregor said Spherion, which works with several major employers in the area, has been finding seasonal workers for Taylor Corp.
“It’s a busy time for a couple of their companies,” she said.
With the tight labor market, she said, employers have become more creative in attracting workers.
“The nice thing is there’s a lot of flexibility (for employees).”
“Employers need to be more competitive. For a lot of positions they have to make a higher offer to people who are already working for them.”
She said skilled and technical job openings continue to be the toughest to find qualified candidates for.
Macgregor said Spherion has also changed the way it recruits candidates.
“Things have really shifted to social media. A lot of our candidates come through media platforms, LinkedIn or things like that.”