Multiple factors leading to labor shortage, leaving some local businesses struggling

Business

OLATHE, Kan. — Tom Koenigsfeld with TS2 Hospitality says it’s been a struggle to get applicants for open positions at the Holiday Inn Express in Olathe since it opened last year.

“The challenge now is that when you do get an interview, 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 are coming in for that,” he said.

Experts say industries like hospitality, transportation, construction and countless others are all struggling to fill their employee roster. But why are employers struggling to attract qualified workers?

Keely Schneider, executive director of the Workforce Partnership, said unemployment benefits are just one of the factors keeping people home.

“It’s easy to point the finger at one particular factor,” she said. “We are now seeing people that have just dropped entirely from the labor force.”

Schneider adds things like lack of childcare, fear of the COVID-19 pandemic, and absence of training can all contribute to the problem. Many companies are now offering sign-on bonuses and other incentives to get people in the door.

But as employers struggle more each day to find employees, employers say there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’m extremely optimistic,” Koenigsfeld said. “I think these are growing pains as we come out of it, both in terms of business coming back and finding new employees.”

The Workforce Partnership will host their first in-person job fair May 26, at 6565 State Ave. in Kansas City, Kansas.

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