FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley have a lot of job openings, but there aren’t enough people applying to fill them.
Miles Crawford, TRAC Staffing CEO, said many different companies and industries are looking for employees in the River Valley.
“All across the board there are job openings,” Crawford said. “I’ve never seen a market that had this many job openings, this variety of job openings.”
Northwest Arkansas staffing agency, 1st Employment, also has a lot of open jobs. President and CEO Jason Daugherty said the company and its’ clients have more than 700 jobs openings.
Companies are getting creative to attract employees. Employers are offering extra incentives for applicants such as sign on bonuses, increased pay and extra benefits. TRAC Staffing is also now allowing people with medical marijuana cards to apply for certain positions.
“In light of the need of hiring workers, they’re more motivated to look at policies that historically over time people adapt and change on,” Crawford said.
TRAC Staffing is only allowing medical marijuana cards for select positions. Safety will continue to be the number one priority as the staffing agency moves forward with allowing the cards. Crawford expects everyone to be responsible.
Daugherty and Crawford both said the pandemic is the main reason there are so few applicants. People are more hesitant to return to work out of safety concerns. Extra unemployment benefits during the pandemic also caused people to stay home.
However, since Arkansas ended its enhanced unemployment benefits in June, Daugherty has seen an increase in applicants.
“We’ve seen a little uptick uptick in applicants in July or up about 20% over June’s numbers in terms of total applicants,” Daughtery said.
There are still fewer applicants now than there were in July of 2019. Crawford and Daugherty both said job seekers should apply now because the market won’t be this good forever.