The tables turn – Workers now have upper hand as employers struggle to find qualified employees
BY MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — As the unemployment rate in New Hampshire has steadily shrunk to 2.6 percent, the next to lowest in the country by just one-tenth of 1 percent, the balance of power in the labor has shifted from employers seeking qualified employees to employees seeking greater opportunities.
Christine St. Cyr of Central New Hampshire Employment Services, Inc., which has been matching people to jobs for 36 years, said that, with the tight labor market, “Qualified candidates are working. They may be underemployed, but they are working.” She stressed that with memories of the recession fresh in their minds, working people require attractive incentives to relinquish the security of a steady job for a new position.
On the other hand, St. Cyr said that employers, buffeted by the years of recession and uncertainty, grew accustomed to what she called “a flexible workforce,” whose numbers, hours and wages could be adjusted to match the fluctuating volume of of their business. In particular, she said that companies relied on temporary and contract workers, whose compensation is paid by the employment agencies that place them, rather than directly hire people.
“Companies have openings and there are qualified candidates,” said St. Cyr, “but, employers need to step up and make a commitment to the employee.” She added that apart from a committing to directly hire their employees, employers must be willing to pay competitive wages and offer attractive benefits.