Ever wanted to work in a theme park? Now is the time to apply. Today, Universal Orlando sent me a press release announcing that it is looking to hire more than 2,000 people for full-time, part-time, seasonal, and professional positions at the resort. That follows similar press releases from Six Flags, Cedar Fair, and just about every park in this business.
You might have read and seen recently a lot of stories about a so-called labor shortage in America right now. Like with any story involving money and power, you can find an enormous number of partisan sources bloviating on this issue. Heck, I have at least four emails in my in-box right now from press agents offering to set up interviews with people at corporate-funded think tanks who want to be quoted about the country's labor situation. But the real reason that employers are struggling to fill positions right now has pretty much nothing to do with increased unemployment benefits or lazy workers.
It's really all about timing.
As America recovers from the pandemic, tons of employers are looking to staff up, all at once. That shifts power from employers to potential employees. Think about it. If you're looking for a job and there are only a few available, you're likely to take the first halfway decent offer you get, because who knows if you will get another?
But when job openings are abundant - as they are now - you're going to wait to accept only the best possible deal you can get. A halfway decent offer? Forget it. I'll keep looking for something better.
The employers who are filling positions right now are the ones who are paying not just way above minimum wage, but offering pay way above their competitors'. They are offering flexible full-time hours, generous benefits and - most important - a positive, supportive and even nurturing work environment.
If you are paying federal minimum wage, offering take-it-or-leave-it scheduling with no benefits and have a reputation for allowing customers and managers to walk all over your employees, yeah, no one's taking your job offers right now. And it's even worse for those employers now, as the abundance of openings elsewhere is encouraging their current employees to jump ship, leaving the cheapskates with even more positions to fill.
A decades-long baby bust in America is not making things easier for industries that typically rely upon younger workers, including restaurants and, yes, theme parks. Closed international borders that have sharply reduced immigration also have squeezed the labor supply.
Eventually, as top employers fill their openings, the labor market will become a late-stage game of musical chairs, and workers will rush to take whatever they can get again. But that's not where we are at right now. So if you have any lingering curiosity why Disney updated its "Disney Look" standards recently, now you know. It's all about creating a work environment that makes employees feel welcomed and empowered, rather than one where workers feel intimidated and controlled.
Here are links to major theme park companies' hiring websites:
Look around, if you are interested. See what's available. Just don't forget - if you want to get a position with the best possible employer - that you should always remember to smile.
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