At the SWAPTA conference last week we were overwhelmed with wonderful conversations with people who seemed to know about what they were talking. One was Maria Tamayo-Soto who is a parking administrator with the economic and urban development department with the City of Las Vegas.
It seems she worked for many years for the Las Vegas Convention Center and was responsible for staffing and managing much of the parking and shuttle operations for the center. She was laid off from that job due to Covid 19.
She had plenty of time to consider her position, her job, and her future. When I asked her about the difficulty of finding people to fill non senior level positions (and some senior positions) her answer came as a surprise.
She told me that often it wasn’t a question of pay. There were many other factors. First of all, perhaps a ‘change over’ was in order. That is, now the husband was at home and got to like taking care of the kids, so when things loosened up, the wife entered the job market and perhaps wasn’t looking to fill the same kind of job the husband left.
In many cases, she said, people had the time to consider their future and perhaps went back to school to hone a new skill and really do what they wanted, rather than what they had to do in life. They were able to restructure their lifestyle in such a way so they weren’t forced to work to make money, or that the income wasn’t as important.
She commented that all the time off gave people an opportunity to rethink their lives and future. They didn’t have to flip burgers, maybe they would rather work in health care or at a university. Education is not a bad thing. You can get ‘stuck’ in entry level jobs, driving shuttles or directing traffic, or waiting tables, or in retail and if you are suddenly out of that job, and nothing else is on the horizon, you have time to think about what you really want to be when you grow up, even if you are in your 40s or 50s, or 60s.
Maria told me that folks aren’t just rushing back to work to make money. They are moving more slowly and frankly, aren’t attracted to the same jobs they had before.
She said that if companies want to attract people, they need to look at the requirements of those people. Maybe its split shifts (so they can be home with the kids) or more time off. Maybe the person wants more training, or mentoring, or the like. Companies, she said, need to look to the workers wants and needs, not just the payroll.
Smart woman, that Maria.