I made the mistake of going to Costco during the Labor Day weekend. While there, I noticed they have already started selling nativity scenes for Christmas. Personally, Christmas in September, is way to early for me, but it is a great reminder that we are moving into the 4th quarter. As a matter of fact, we have less than 90 days until Thanksgiving! For businesses who are looking to hire in the 4th quarter, don’t wait! Start today! Your search for employees here in Tampa Bay will likely take longer than you expect.

COVID 19 Delta Variant

Let’s address the elephant in the room first. We have seen the impact on the hiring process due to the increase of COVID 19. We can argue all day long about unemployment, masking, vaccines, mandates, and any other issue where political battle lines have been drawn. But political fights don’t help us here, reality is what matters. Unfortunately, the reality of the Delta variant is that it has reintroduced fear into our marketplace. People are again nervous. Can my business survive this newest COVID surge? Will my job still be safe if business drops again? In the end we are all looking at what does this situation mean for me, myself, and I. Unfortunately that future is not clear and it is causing people to pause their job search. Additionally, we have also seen some employers pull back on hiring, especially in sales positions.


While this does not apply to senior level individuals, it absolutely does to most open roles. We have already seen announcements from Aldi and Walmart. Both have announced they are looking to hire over 20,000 individuals each for the holidays in warehouse/supply chain roles. Both companies are paying in the $20 per hour range for those employees. For businesses here in Tampa Bay that rely on holiday labor, you have to know you will face stiff competition with the large national retailers.

Keep in mind that we haven’t even heard from Target or Amazon yet. Last year Target announced they were trying to hire a 130,000 people the holiday season with wages starting at $15 per hour.  Recently the National Association of Manufactures released data that showed manufacturing wages rose by 5% year over year. While this is just manufacturing, we are seeing similar increases across the board in all positions here in the Tampa Bay area. Candidates expect higher wages and they are getting them, or they are skipping the role to wait for a better offer. While we have seen great increases in the wages and benefits in the small business market here in Tampa Bay, wages are still rising beyond those increases.

Your Current Employees 

It has been widely documented that employees are burned out in their roles with their current employer. We have seen extraordinarily high numbers in poll after poll of employees saying they would leave their job if a better role or a more balanced (work/life) role became available. All employers must realize that they are at risk of losing members of their current team today, especially your top talent.  As a business owner, you can’t just focus on the role you need to fill, you also need to play defense to keep your top talent in house. Do not assume critical employees aren’t going to leave you. If you aren’t careful you may need to recruit for more positions than you anticipated for in the 4th quarter of the year.

Our bottom line here in the Tampa Bay area is that hiring is not easy and it will likely take longer to hire than you think. While I would love to tell you that hiring will change soon, I would be lying, it will remain difficult for the immediate future. Therefore, if you believe you will have an important position to fill in the 4th quarter, now is the time to start. Our hiring reality is simple. We are not seeing a high volume of people looking for work. For the ones who are, they have choices and their wages are going up. If you will have a critical need to fill in the 4th quarter or start of the year, start now!

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