Publisher’s Perspective: The art of finding good help (Opinion)
A quick drive through the middle of any town in Tahoe and you can quickly point out help wanted signs scattered across windows in every direction. Businesses are hiring. Great! Well, it might be great if there were employees to fill the positions and everyone wasn’t scratching and clawing for the same candidates.
Welcome to the recovery.
This is not unique to Tahoe. Everyone across the nation is struggling to hire employees. In an article from the New York Times a little over a week ago, they suggest that the labor shortage we are seeing is a myth.
While my recent conversations with many business owners will tell this challenge is far from a myth, the article suggests that in a capitalist country, the solution is to simply offer a higher wage to solve the problem.
The article went on to talk about corporations and how they can afford it, and maybe that’s true, but what about the small business owner? What about our local businesses? In those same conversations I had with businesses, there was real concern over what is happening.
First off, the elephant in the room is the pandemic. Many people were left jobless or opted out of their particular situation. Many of these people received much needed benefits during this time, but there were also many people who took advantage of the system and are still taking advantage of the system.
How do you offer up an opportunity that is better than getting paid to stay at home and go hiking or mountain biking? More pay? Ok, but for just how long can that be sustained?
And how about the other resources that are also increasing right now? Fuel? Diapers? Paper goods? Have you seen the cost of lumber lately?
So you want small businesses to raise the rate of their product not only to carry the cost of supply increases, but also to attract workers back into the market? I’m all for a good wage, but this seems like a nightmare to try and sustain. Are we going to soon be paying $30 for a cheeseburger?
I haven’t even got into the cost of living and housing. Legitimately, businesses in Tahoe have had to forego hiring because employees couldn’t find an affordable place to live.
As the solution outlined in the New York Times outlined, when you have a shortage, just raise the price. How’d that go for the real estate market in Tahoe? Great, for people who could afford it, but what was the cost for the others who were priced out of their homes?
While that’s not exactly breaking news, there’s a real issue when it comes to all these issues snowballing into something that is spiraling out of control. Where’s the breaking point? Exactly how far can we bend until the stress cracks what is already extremely fragile?
Elected officials (local, state and nationwide), need to find better solutions. That’s why we elected them. Yes, there are some good things that are being done, but the pace of these challenges is far quicker than their solutions.
Is it too far out of the question to take the money that’s being paid to people who are not working and rather incentivize them to get back to work? I realize that option completely passes over the people who have continued to grind through this whole ordeal, so maybe that’s not the best option. But, it sure seems like it could be a good place to at least start the discussion.
Perhaps we just need to ask people differently? “Seeking Solutions” has a far better ring than “Help Wanted.”
Publisher Rob Galloway can be reached at email@example.com or 530-542-8046.
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This past year has been a rollercoaster for the Lake Tahoe region. As the coronavirus pandemic dragged on, undeterred visitors continued to flock to the area.