Industries with Labor Shortages
Anyone who has survived the last 12+ months knows this all-too-familiar story by now. The pandemic forced the federal and state governments to institute widespread shutdowns, leaving millions of Americans jobless.
Now, with vaccines on board and the government giving us the green light to reopen, businesses are finding themselves understaffed and desperate for workers.
There’s no doubt about it. The country is experiencing a bona fide labor shortage. However, the shortage is hitting some industries more than others.
Empire Resume will examine what industries are facing the biggest labor shortages and why this is happening.
Help Wanted in These Industries
If you’re looking for work, you may find success pursuing a job in one of these industries with labor shortages.
- Food-service: The pandemic caused a loss of more than 2 million workers in the food-service industry. According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of unemployment in the food-service industry is actually double the national average.
This is leaving owners of fast-food to fine dining restaurants in a real bind as vaccinated patrons are eager to dine out instead of order in. Many owners are responding to the shortage by increasing hourly wages and offering hiring bonuses (and some even offering cash incentives to show up for an interview), which may entice workers to return.
- Education: The pandemic turned the American education system on its head as many teachers had to quickly adapt to teaching in a virtual environment. The virtual classroom scenario added a tremendous amount of stress to what was already a pretty stressful job.
A CNBC report reveals that after more than a year of virtual instruction, teachers are burnt out and are seriously considering switching careers or retiring early. However, teachers are leaving just when schools are more in need of teachers than ever.
That means there could be plenty of opportunities for anyone who’s interested in getting into the field of education. By the fall, the entire country will be back to in-person learning and the stress of the virtual classroom won’t be a factor.
- Nursing: The shortage of nurses has been a chronic problem in this country for decades. But that shortage is unfortunately about to get worse.
An increasing number of nurses are reporting their intention to leave the profession within a year, or after “the pandemic is over” according to a policy brief published by The International Council of Nurses.
That same brief estimates that the exodus of nurses from the profession due to COVID, natural retirement, and other factors is going to result in to be a shortage of approximately 13 million nurses worldwide.
Look for hospitals to start strong recruitment efforts to bring nurses onboard, even as the numbers of COVID hospitalizations plummet. This may be a good time to consider entering the profession.
- Trucking: At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a sharp decline in the demand for long-haul trucking as supply chains in several industries came to a halt. Many out-of-work truckers opted to retire early, or they found jobs elsewhere.
The good news is that the demand for truck drivers is back to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, demand is actually a bit higher due to the effects e-commerce boom that occurred during the lockdown. However, all of those retired truckers aren’t coming back, leaving a lot of opportunity for anyone who wants to get into trucking.
- Construction: Commercial and residential construction may have slowed down during the pandemic; however, it’s been making a big comeback. Associated Builders and Contractors estimates that the construction industry will need to hire more than 400,000 workers by the end of 2021.
If there was ever a time to consider a career in construction, it’s now. There are entry-level and advanced opportunities, competitive wages, and plenty of work to be done.
Why the Labor Shortage?
Of course, the big question on everyone’s mind is why are these industries experiencing a labor shortage? Shouldn’t people be eager to get back to work after such a difficult year?
There are a few reasons why some industries are having trouble hiring back workers.
- Government benefits: Many people are still receiving stimulus checks and additional unemployment benefits, so that reduces the incentive to find work. However, as those benefits expire in the course of the next few months, we should see people more eager to get back to work.
- Early retirement: As mentioned earlier with truckers, workers across industries opted for early retirement, especially those age 55 and older. Even though the pandemic is showing signs of receding, many of those early retirees are unlikely to come out of retirement.
- Health concerns: Although vaccines are rolling out and proving to be effective, we’re just starting to see a light at the end of this long and difficult year. Some people may be ready to rip off their masks and run into the streets and celebrate. Others though, may not be so eager.
- Poor wages and work conditions: Some people don’t want to return to their previous job s with low wages and poor working conditions. This is especially true among restaurant wait staff.
It’s a high-stress environment where the hourly rate is still just over $2 per hour. Tips make up the rest of their salary of course, but typically, they don’t receive health insurance, paid time off, or other benefits that come with other jobs.
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Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.