As you can see, the unemployment rate for the Gallatin County is the lowest of all counties with larger cities, and by far lower than the state average (far below the national average). We have seen an incredible difference in the workforce just since last fall. The lack of applicants is huge this year. The skillset and overall ‘quality’ of the workers willing to work for the same wage amount as last year is significantly lower. In fact, we (and many other employers who have come to us for help) have found it almost impossible to get anyone to even accept a job for less than $15/hour. Most all of our general labor jobs are going for $15-18/hour. Entry level office positions are going for $14-$15. Basically, the workforce has realized that they can demand higher wages and the employers are slowly discovering that as well. We have seen time and time again, employers seeking to fill positions at the same wages they were last year, only to eventually raise the wage due to the caliber of applicants applying. Worse yet, we see so many employers filling positions, only to see continued turnover due to a lack of skills, dependability, or both.
- Wages have increased significantly this year just from last year. Examples of recent wages for placements/job offers & openings:
- We routinely place administrative personnel. Last year, we could fill an entry level receptionist position for $12 - $13/hour. This year, the skills, ethics, etc. of the applicants willing to accept a job at that rate are, for the most part, what we saw 2 years ago accepting the $10/hour positions. Bottom line is, “You get what you pay for” and with the unemployment rate so low in Bozeman right now, we have seen a definite trend of higher wages ($14-$15 for entry level) from employers who want the quality workers. Most of the unemployed are not what you would want or expect to see in a successful establishment.
- We have found it difficult to fill any maintenance or warehouse position for less than $15/hour. This year, one of our candidate was offered a position at a wage of $16.50, plus full benefits. He turned it down because he accepted a similar position at a higher wage –this position also included an excellent benefit package
Finally, I will give the same insight to you that I have been sharing with numerous frustrated employers in the Bozeman area in recent months. The highly skilled, quality, dependable workers, have discovered that they can ‘pick and choose’ the job they want and are accepting only the positions that offer higher wages and benefits. This also is true for existing employees. Working at an employment agency has provided a unique view into what is going on in the job market. We routinely have candidates come to us who are currently employed, but are noticing the increased wages and are looking for positions with better salaries and benefits. The bottom line is that IF YOU WANT TO ATTRACT AND KEEP SKILLED, DEDICATED WORKERS, YOU SIMPLY MUST OFFER AND PROVIDE HIGHER WAGES AND BENEFITS.