The labor shortage brought on by the reopening of the economy combined with extended unemployment benefits has companies desperate to attract new workers. Businesses from Amazon to supermarkets and convenience store chains are now offering signing bonuses to new hires. Andy Challenger, Vice President of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, tells KTRH this is unprecedented. "We're seeing a very strange situation in the labor market," he says. "That is, there is a massive labor shortage, but at the same time there are still 8-9 million Americans currently out of jobs."
Challenger notes that many companies especially want to beef up their ranks now during the summer months. "In the next few months employers expect a lot of demand, with all the reopenings, and people going back to restaurants and retail stores," he says. "And employers don't wanna miss that."
"A lot of employers don't want to raise their wages yet," he continues. "So instead they are using this tool of signing bonuses to get people in their doors."
Challenger expects the labor shortage to shrink and the market to balance out in the next few months, as extra unemployment benefits come to an end in many states, including Texas. Until then, he encourages those in the job market to take advantage of this situation. "The market is leaning heavily in the employees' favor right now," he says. "There's a lot of negotiating room, there's the ability to earn these extra bonuses...and those will almost inevitably go away over the next 3-4 months as people return to the labor market."