published on October 27, 2021 - 12:42 PM
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Staffing agencies aren’t immune from the current labor crunch, but overall, it’s been a good time for the agencies to gain new clients.

Glenna Gates, franchise owner of Spherion in Fresno, described the state of the nation’s workforce as “full force recovery mode.”

Spherion was established in the 1940s but has been in the Central Valley for over 25 years.

Spherion branches across the country hosted an incentive program as a way to recognize hard workers. The incentive program was also an effort to fill about 10,000 open positions in the company.

This generated a lot of excitement and hundreds of jobs filled in Gates’ markets in Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield.

“Everybody in the Valley is looking for folks to go to work,” she said. “I believe that the workforce is on its way back. I’ve seen a surge really in the last 10 weeks of folks coming back to the workforce.”

The Central Valley is a hub of distribution centers, she said, and seasonal work is ramping up for these businesses.

The market continues to be competitive with incentives and competitive wages. Employers have complained of no shows to interviews, or candidates saying yes to another opportunity altogether because of higher wages.

This is good news for staffing agencies, however, because in a time when it’s hard for business owners to hire on their own, agencies can help alleviate the stress.

“The result for staffing agencies like Spherion has really been growth in the client base as they engage partners in staffing services like us help them fill those openings that they have,” Gates said.

Spherion has helped multiple employers transition from pre-pandemic demands to current ones. Workers are hoping for more flexibility. There’s a trend for administrative applicants to take more work-from-home opportunities at higher rates than pre-Covid.

“That’s interesting, but certainly not a surprise,” Gates said.

Gates called the end of unemployment benefits a wakeup call, and said she’s certain it factored into the people actively seeking work in the recent weeks.

Applicant volume in Fresno has picked up in the last six weeks.

Approaching the holiday season, Gates said that there’s an anticipated surge in retail and online spending. But she said it’s a smart idea for businesses to engage with hiring agencies so they can focus on their product instead of hiring.

“It’s an excellent time to engage agencies and employment services like Spherion to help you out during this busy period so that you can keep your focus where it belongs on producing your products and your services for your own customers,” Gates said.

The Valley should anticipate needing several hundred workers for general warehouse jobs, including packers, assemblers and forklift operators.

With higher wages competing for people’s resumes, Gates says there’s a sweet spot.

“Wage gets them in the door and what keeps them there is the work environment,” Gates said.

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