Labor survey shows 82% of responding York businesses upped pay to increase pool of job seekers

YORK – A new labor market survey, conducted by the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL), shows that 82% of responding York businesses increased their pay in order to attract more job-seeking candidates.

And more than half also increased the benefits they offer, in order to improve their hiring ability.

The NDOL compiled survey data from households and businesses to produce Labor Availability and Hiring Needs Reports for York, Create and Seward. The reports cover responses from portions of Butler, Gage, Fillmore, Lancaster, York, Polk, Saline and Seward Counties.

The survey area populations included nearly 45,000 adults and an estimated total labor force of 30,880, with 355 businesses and 714 households responding, according to the NDOL.

The NDOL says survey respondents listed construction, accommodation and food service, wholesale trade, retail trade, health care, social assistance, transportation and warehousing as the industries with the most difficulty hiring workers.

The percentage of frequently hired jobs reported as difficult to fill ranged from around 83% in the York survey area, to 86% in the Seward and Crete areas.

Employers most cited reasons for difficulty finding workers were lack of applicants, wage demands being too high, poor work history of applicants, lack of work experience and lack of occupation-specific skills.

The most commonly listed skills that employers said employees needed additional training in were leadership, advanced computer skills, computer service, problem solving and critical thinking.

While 82% of responding York businesses said they increased pay in order to attract more applicants, that figure was 68% in Crete and 83% in Seward.

And in Crete, 45% of employers there said they reduced work experience requirements, which was a much higher percentage than in York and Seward Counties.

When it came to job seekers, “the surveys found an estimated 13,749 potential job seekers in the survey areas. Salary, along with job security and stability, were the factors most important to potential job seers when considering new employment.”

Most of the job seekers listed security and stability, work schedule and using their existing skills as factors that lead to job satisfaction.

And the job seekers reported “inadequate pay and benefits offered at local area employers, lack of job opportunities in the area and work schedule flexibility as obstacles to employment.”

It should also be noted, pertaining strictly to York, 35.8% of job seekers said an important factor for them when considering new jobs is the ability to work from home. Eighty percent said they also considered commute time and 73% said learning new skills was a factor as well.

Again pertaining strictly to York, job seekers said obstacles for them when seeking employment were: lack of education, 27%; family commitments, 39%; and transportation, 22%.

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