Help wanted in employee-driven market

Help wanted signs are popping up in windows across Madison, and experts explained that businesses may need to make themselves more attractive to potential employees.

As of July, the unemployment rate in Wisconsin is 3%, according to the Department of Workforce Development.

“It’s a great thing for workers because it drives, not only opportunity, but it also drives up wages,” Director of Workforce Development at the Urban League of Greater Madison Ray Allen said. “For businesses, it’s a challenge to find the individuals who have the skill sets to perform the jobs that they need.”

Allen said the historically low unemployment rate makes it easier for workers to find jobs and harder for employers to fill open positions.

Culver’s near East Towne Mall is hiring new team members. Marcus Krueger, the general manager, said the restaurant is looking for employees to keep around but there is fluctuation in applications.

Culver’s near East Towne Mall is one of many places looking for help right now. Their general manager tells us what it’s like to work for their resturant. #News3Now

— Gabriella Bachara (@GabbyBachara) September 19, 2019

“There’s times it definitely feels like that where you don’t get a lot of applications, and then all of the sudden, you get a lot,” Krueger said. “It’s kind of sporadic and unpredictable, to be honest.”

Krueger said the incentive to work for Culver’s is the workplace environment.

“We genuinely care about what we do. We show up. We are here to support each other, take care of our guests,” Krueger said. “When we take care of our guests and each other, it makes for a really positive experience.”

Incentives are what Madison College marketing professor Kristin Uttech said retailers are turning to.

“We are seeing that retailers are having to get more creative because it is actually an employee’s market right now,” Uttech said.

Uttech said the low unemployment rate is also causing trouble for seasonal hiring methods and wages have increased by about 8% since 2018.

“It’s not business as usual anymore,” Uttech said. “It’s really about looking at how they can offer the most attractive package to employees, bring them in and keep them on, because without them, we can’t successfully do our holiday business.”

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