West Michigan Works! sees gap between employers and job seekers

Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There’s plenty of work available, but employers are having a tough time filling their openings, according to Brittany Lenertz, the talent solutions director at West Michigan Works!

“Employers keep coming at us for help finding people and we’re really working at that,” Lenertz said. “Trying to be creative.”

West Michigan Works! recently published a survey conducted by Calvin University in which nearly three-quarters of the more than 800 respondents looking for a job said there are two major barriers in finding a job. One problem is low pay rates; another is lacking the required skill level for openings. 

Lenertz says employers should look for a way to bridge the gap regarding job requirements. 

“They may be better served by saying, here are the skills and competencies needed to do this job,” Lenertz said. “Now, I can look for somebody who doesn’t have a degree or maybe they have experience in a different industry or something, but those skills will transfer to this and I can teach them the skills they need to know. I think there’s a shift that needs to take place there.”

Lenertz says the survey shows job seekers want more control of when and how much they work. 

“Wages are important to people and we’ve seen employers increase those wages,” Lenertz said. “More than that — or equally important — culture and some of the other benefits that employers can offer. Seeing a lot of people wanting to work part time, not wanting to work full time.”

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