Two problems making it tough for employers to hire seasonal workers

Workforce Solutions confirms it will be a tricky hiring season for retail stores locally, nationwide

SAN ANTONIO – Staffing shortages have been rampant across the country for over a year now.

That’s no exception for seasonal work; in fact it’s even more of a struggle for employers.

Ten Thousand Villages is a 76-year-old fair trade company, the oldest in the world. Their stores sell products from all over the globe, and donate the money to the artists who make the goods.

“Fair trade basically means three main components: no child labor, fair working conditions and a fair price,” said Vaughan Ballinger who has managed the San Antonio store since it opened at the Pearl about 10 years ago.

It’s important work, but it’s become tough in this economy.

“We’re here to help our artisans, but we also want to give our employees a livable wage,” Ballinger said.

A national survey from customer engagement technology provider Verint recently revealed two things: employers either can’t find enough seasonal workers or they can’t afford them.

Ballinger said her shop falls into both categories.

The San Antonio store is the most profitable in their company, so things get busy during the holidays and they need more staffing help.

However, inflation is causing them to cut down on the number of seasonal workers they usually hire.

“Like everyone, our shipping costs have gone off the chart. So, we watch our expenses as much as we can,” Ballinger said.

The kicker is, even filling those few positions was tough.

Experts report that’s because the economy is adding way more jobs than can be filled.

“If you look at the national job reports, over the last five or six months or so, there are about 200,000- plus jobs that are being added on a monthly basis nationally,” said Workforce Solutions Alamo CEO Adrian Lopez.

The numbers are very high, locally as well.

“Here in this region, which is a 13-county region that we support, we added 50,000 jobs year over year from September 2021 to September 2022,” he said.

Lopez explained that leaves job seekers with a lot of options.

“Do they want a temporary seasonal assignment, or do they want to go find an actual full-time job that offers benefits?” Lopez said.

The unbalanced job market also allows prospective employees to make more demands.

“Salaries, flexibility associated with people’s schedules and working from home,” Lopez said.

A large chunk of seasonal work is typically filled by younger workers, high school and college aged.

“16 to 24-year-olds, only about 50% of those folks are participating in the labor force,” Lopez said.

He said that’s the lowest percentage for any age group, which is contributing to employers’ problems.

Ballinger and her team were lucky to find a few new hires to help, but knows other stores may not get as lucky.

If you are an employer or prospective employee who needs guidance, reach out to Workforce Solutions Alamo by calling 210-822-7640 or going to their website.

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About the Authors

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.

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