Competition for new hires heats up as jobs nearly double in Tennessee over the summer

Demand for labor outweighs training and experience
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Posted at 9:41 PM, Sep 15, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The number of available jobs in Tennessee doubled over the summer and some say this has made hiring more competitive for employers.

At Hire Dynamics of Nashville, they place at least 100 job seekers in positions across Middle Tennessee every week. This week’s job fairs have already shown promise after more than 80 people applied on Tuesday alone. Brock Keckler is the director of Business Development and says it’s a sign that we’re trending in the right direction.

Current openings include:

  • Remote customer service representatives
  • Customer service representatives
  • Administrative assistant
  • Account support
  • Sales and account managers
  • Warehouse associates/ both manufacturing and distribution facilities
  • Forklift operators
  • Warehouse and office management

“We have such a big variety and the most important thing is you get the right people placed in the right positions,” Keckler said.

We met Theresa Palmer at Wednesday’s job fair after she had just completed her typing exam and second interview in two days. To her surprise, that’s all it took to land her a job that checked off all the boxes.

Palmer retired back in 2016 but worked on and off for family until last week. That’s when she decided to get back into the workforce, but this time with a job she could enjoy every day.

“I do want to work, but I want to enjoy what I’m doing and not get up and dread it,” Palmer said.

Palmer also wanted a job where she could work from the security of her own home. She worried at first that her experience wouldn’t match what companies were looking for, but all that changed when she got help from Hire Dynamics.

Keckler says they tailor opportunities for job seekers based on preferences, that way it’s almost always the right fit. They consider how much you need to make, what hours you need during the week, and how far you’re willing to travel.

The new job seems to already be working out for Palmer who will begin training next week, which her new employer will be paying for.

Keckler says it’s just another example of how companies have become more competitive for new hires. He says some will downplay background checks or not drug test at all, to get as many people in the door as possible.

“Each company is having to change the way they do things to make sure they can be competitive,” Keckler said.

In May, the Tennessee Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development listed more than 260,000 openings. That number now stands at 463,000. The unemployment rate however has gone from 5.0 percent to 4.7 percent as of July. Granted it’s the lowest the unemployment rate has been since March of 2020, but this shows not everyone is finding the right fit.

We’ve heard from many job seekers who say that their skills don’t match the jobs available or that the employers won’t pay enough to make up for the jobs they lost in the pandemic.

However, that doesn’t explain the low turnout rate for some job fairs wherein the case of Metro Nashville Government, there were only 15-20 people who showed up. Sources say they haven’t been able to hire for even high-paying nursing positions.

Palmer says if she has one word of advice for job seekers, it’s that they should never assume they don’t have enough experience for the job.

“You probably have more skills than you think you do,” Palmer said.

Keckler says that for some, the biggest issue is people don’t know where to start. He says job seekers should take advantage of the moment where labor is in high demand.

UPS is one big name already thinking ahead to the holiday season. They plan to hire more than 1,500 workers in the Nashville area for a variety of positions. Click here to learn more.

This week marks Keep Tennessee Working Week across the state. It’s part of a national effort to get people back in the workforce. You can learn more about upcoming job fairs here.