Page 9 - BusinessWest April 28, 2021
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several years now. But the prob- “There’s not a huge the hiring crunch, he noted, adding that, despite a wide-
lem has reached a new level in recent months.
“There’s not a huge availabil-
ity of workers — the pipeline of basic-skilled applicants is really non-existent,” he noted, adding
that the company has been run-
ning with one and a half to two
open positions monthly on an
almost constant basis for some
time now. COVID has made the situation worse, at a time when
the opposite might be expected because of the number of people out of work, and for several reasons, he said.
“With the stimulus checks and unemployment extension, the avail- ability of workers has been impacted in a negative way,” he said, referring to both the number of applicants in the pool and their willingness to accept an employment opportunity.
“We’ve tried to engage with a couple of temporary agencies,” he went on. “In the past, it was common that you would have an applicant pool of tem- porary workers of between 15 and 20 people that were already pre-screened and ready to go — you’d call the employment agency and, pretty much on the spot, get someone in 24 hours. Working with a few local agencies
that we’ve traditionally worked with ... there’s no applicant pool; they’re seeing the same thing.”
Jzyk said the company’s hiring chal- lenges have yet to directly impact pro- duction or limit its ability to take on new orders. However, he said it does limit CNG’s ability to be more “proac- tive,” as he put it, and do more when it comes to training and flexibility with employees’ responsibilities.
For other employers, the shortage of workers represents a real threat to day- to-day operations and especially the ability to handle the larger volumes of business expected as the region returns to something approaching normal
as vaccinations rise and consumers venture back out to restaurants, bars, museums, stores, and more.
Nadim Kashouh, owner of Nadim’s Downtown Mediterranean Grill in downtown Springfield, said he’s look- ing forward to the return of shows
to the MassMutual Center and other forms of vibrancy (see related story
on page 10), but he quickly, as in very quickly, changed to the subject of staff- ing and his ongoing concerns about whether he can find enough help to handle whatever surge comes.
“I hesitate to get too excited because one of the things we’re dealing with right now is the lack of people who want to work,” he told BusinessWest, gesturing to a lighted message board behind the bar. Among the many mes- sages being delivered is that help is wanted — and that display is just one of many ways that point is being made.
“We have created a commercial that focuses on how our patio will be open soon,” he said. “But it also notes that we’re looking to hire people — we need
which is certainly nothing new for that sector, has resulted from a number of fac- tors, with COVID-relat- ed issues being only the latest additions.
Overall, fewer peo- ple have been getting into the trades, he said, and this has left the region with a shortage of carpenters and other
“You basically have an entire gen-
eration that didn’t get into the trade,”
ranging effort involving social media and other strategies, the company has a workforce that is 30% short of what is needed. And this harsh reality is certainly impacting the firm’s ability to take on jobs — at a time when jobs are plentiful, again, due to COVID and people home so much and often of a mind to improve their surroundings.
“Finding projects has never been the problem; the problem has been managing your labor in accordance with how many projects you have
Continued on page 54
  availability of workers — the pipeline of basic- skilled applicants is really non-existent.
to keep letting people know that.” Fran Beaulieu, second-generation
president of Phil Beaulieu & Sons Home Improvement in Chicopee, said
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