NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Our informal survey on Broadway Avenue Saturday was meant to give workers a chance to share what they valued the most when vetting job opportunities.
While they value salary and benefits, workers say what’s most important is finding job security.
As COVID-19 restrictions tightened across the country, more and more businesses were forced to lay off staff or even close their doors for good. In Tennessee, more than 1.1 million people have filed for unemployment since the beginning of the pandemic.
The return for most jobs has been slow, but Tennessee legislators say that’s not what’s holding people back from accepting the jobs we have currently available. The argument has been that some people would rather stay home and collect unemployment benefits, rather than return to work.
GOP legislators have drafted a bill that would cut the number of unemployment benefit weeks in Tennessee from 26 to 12 weeks beginning 2023. Legislators say the bill is intended to get people back into the workforce sooner.
Sierra Madrigal says she understands the concern of legislators because if people don't have to work, she doesn't believe they will. She's visiting from Florida where she commutes two hours every day for work.
She says while it’s far from ideal, she took the job knowing management was always concerned with her well-being.
“When she hired me, the first thing she said was this is your job, not your life and I think that’s what people need,” Madrigal said.
Madrigal admits that while her benefits aren’t great and her pay isn’t stellar, management made the difference. She didn’t have to worry about losing her job or not having one to return to if they were closed.
We asked others what mattered the most and while some answered the desire for a livable wage, the majority mentioned wanting a return to the job security they enjoyed before the pandemic.
It’s something few employers can guarantee with the uncertainty behind a pandemic, but job seekers say it shouldn’t stop business owners from showing workers how much they’re appreciated. Word of a good employer or manager can travel fast and people like Lindsey Richardson say it’s something job seekers will look for.
“Good management and nice people, that’s what you want,” Richardson said.
These are qualities you won’t often find on a job site, although sites like Indeed certainly try to give you as many details about jobs as possible.
We found nearly 20,000 job openings in the greater Nashville area. These positions ranged from sales to health care and hospitality. Just over 740 of these jobs you could do from home.
A small indicator also shows which jobs are desperate for help and how much you can make.
The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development says there are more than 251,000 current job openings in the state.