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Worker shortage

Posted on august 2, 2021 by ASK-Solutions in discussion

Help wanted!Back in 2020, when COVID19 started to spread worldwide, a lot of workers and small business owners were forced to stop working and remain at home in personal isolation. Many companies and government agencies adopted and made modifications so their staff could work from home. Now, more than a year later, things have changed. Most of the measures put in place by government have been lifted or reduced. We have a vaccine and the original COVID19 seems to be under control. However a new strain, the Delta variant, is sweeping over the world, causing many deaths worldwide. Luckily a lot of people in the developed world have been vaccinated, which helps dramatically against dying from this variant. However people are still infected and spread the virus at the risk of causing new mutations. Most mutations are harmless, but the more infections, the higher the change of a new variant that is resilient to the vaccine.

The new problem

A lot of businesses have already started back up, or are currently struggling to return to normal operations. Their biggest struggle appears to be finding workers! We see this with our clients, public transport, postal services, signs at stores and restaurants, advertisements, et cetera. It's a complex problem with multiple causes:

  • More demand for certain jobs.
  • People who refuse work because of bad working conditions or pay.
  • People rethinking their priorities and needs in life.
  • People have adjusted to a life style on lower income.
  • People who have lost their job, but are not returning because they're still eligible for social benefits.
  • People who have started a business for themselves.
  • People who have cashed in and have retired earlier than previously planned.

Take for instance N., who owns a fast food restaurant with his wife and has 4 employees. Due to the pandemic, business is booming. At the start of the pandemic, he transformed his business model. He closed off the restaurant serving dinners, and stopped taking takeaway orders at the counter. But instead started an online ordering system with pickups. People find it more easy to order online and pickup a dinner. This way they don't have to go to the supermarket as often, which has become a stressful trip since the pandemic. Face masks, cleaning your hands and cart, only one person allowed, obligatory shopping cart, waiting outside in line, reduced opening hours, having unsupervised kids at home because school and day care are closed, et cetera. N., his wife and staff have been working overtime and are now exhausted. They can't find extra staff, even though their wages and conditions are fine. They have even received multiple endorsements over the years for best fast food restaurant, best service and healthiest food. To protect their health, they can no longer be open 7 days a week. They have changed their work schedule and are now closed on Mondays.

We see this in many industries. Sometimes because an employer is a pretty bad employer, such as with the postal service and some parcel companies. But not always. We see more people slacking and leasuring than before the pandemic. Sometimes it seems like nobody is willing to work at all anymore. The reality is that some people indeed have little motivation to return to a job or have reduced their working hours to a minimum, just enough for the rent and food. While others are willing to work but can't find a job that treats them a human beings or which is fit for their capabilities.

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