Kentucky employers among those having the hardest time hiring workers

LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — An April study by Wallethub ranked the best and worst places for employers looking to hire.

The study compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the rate of job openings versus job openings over the past 12 months.

Recent job postings ranged from 9.40% to 5.40% in their most recent look and from 8.48% to 5.03% in the last 12 months prior to the study.

Kentucky did not see any big changes going from 7.20% openings to 7.55%. This landed the bluegrass state in eighth place. West Virginia was Kentucky’s only neighbor that did worse, coming in fifth.

April saw some positive changes for the Commonwealth. According to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, unemployment in March was down 0.2% from February, with 8,351 people getting jobs.

Indiana (35), Illinois (33), Ohio (31), Missouri (27), Virginia (20), and Tennessee (13) all find it easier to replace or rehire employees lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The District of Columbia, Kansas, Connecticut, Delaware, and Arkansas all had the easiest time hiring employees.

WalletHub interviewed 15 professionals and/or professors about their findings which can be viewed here.

Teresa A. Sullivan, a professor at the University of Virginia, said the main factors troubling the labor market are wages, benefits, or employees who simply view work as unpleasant.

“Real wages have increased somewhat and some employers have started to compete with new perks and benefits. In some cases, there is organized poaching by other companies. Also, some jobs, especially those open to the public, are perceived as so dangerous or unpleasant that workers are no longer willing to stay, even at higher wages. Fear of contracting COVID, customer abuse, frustration over unavailable inventory and other supply chain issues have all made jobs in retail, hospitality and some healthcare much less attractive .

Teresa A. Sullivan, President Emeritus and University Professor – University of Virginia

Hee Man Park, assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University, said employers will need to rethink their talent pools and who they hire.

“Despite the challenges employers face in attracting and retaining employees, this could also be an opportunity for employers to rethink hiring unconventional talent. These talents include mothers who work at home all the time, disabled workers, racial minorities and people from lower social classes, who have failed due to stereotypes despite their strength. The needs of these talents may be slightly different from those of conventional talents. Rather than just a base salary, they care more about inclusive organizational culture, fair treatment of supervisors, transparent communication, fair compensation practices, flexible work hours, and remote work options. These are among the valuable non-monetary compensations, which many organizations often overlook or fail to communicate with job applicants. Small and medium-sized companies in particular, which cannot compete with large companies in terms of base salaries, must actively communicate the existence of unique non-monetary remuneration to attract unconventional talent.

Hee Man Park, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management, School of Labor and Employment Relations, The Pennsylvania State University

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