Welcome to the new employment landscape

This is not your father’s job market

By Morf Morford

Tacoma Daily Index

You’ve probably noticed (sometimes literal) signs of how the job market has changed.

I’ve seen commercials on television, not for products but appeals for workers.

And it’s not just fast food places (which often have hiring bonuses).

Every office, industry and job category seems to have a “staff shortage”.

This, like almost every social or cultural (or demographic) shift has been visible, if not predictable for years.

The AARP has noted that 10,000 Americans are hitting retirement each and every day.

Multiply that number by the twenty or so months of a pandemic induced economic slowdown and you have the purely mathematical makings of an economic re-structuring like we, or perhaps the entire world, has never seen before.

And for some, those of working age, the opportunities are like nothing else we have seen – or will ever see again.

I see on a nearly regular basis, for example, opportunities that, just a few years ago, would have been my “dream job”.

For a variety of reasons, I’m not willing or eager to take them at this time in my life.

But the employment field, again for a variety of reasons, is full of unparalleled opportunities – and is open, as it has never been before, to an ever expanding field of capable, “nontraditional” applicants.

Some of these programs are sponsored by governments, industries, unions or local agencies.

The bottom line is that every industry, from Washington State Ferries to restaurants to medical facilities is understaffed.

Electrical circuits

How’s this for a program we would never have seen in a “traditional economy”? Few industries are more gender-defined than electrical work.

Creating a pathway for female electricians has been difficult, if not impossible, in many areas – especially for new mothers.

Not in the Portland, Oregon area, though. As of January 2020, a new Maternity Benefit Plan went into effect that was made available by IBEW Local 48 (NECA/IBEW Local 48 is based in Oregon and southwest Washington) in partnership with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the Harrison Electrical Workers Trust Fund.

With a goal to retain women in the workforce, the plan offers 13 weeks of paid leave before a doctor-certified due date and 13 weeks after, doubling the previous maternity leave offering. Members receive $800 a week in time loss benefits in addition to Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits.

Details (for anyone) on working in the electrical industry can be found here – www.necaibew48.com.

Or would you rather go fishing?

Want to have an adventure in Alaska? This new program will give you the experience you need to get a commercial fishing job.

The Gig Harbor BoatShop and Washington Sea Grant have partnered in developing a new Purse Seine Crew-Member Training Program. The six-day program will first be offered in the fall of 2021 in Gig Harbor, Washington (exact dates are to be determined).

Designed by commercial fishing vessel captains and Washington Sea Grant, the program will equip you with fundamental crew-member skills.

Program participants will be introduced to the basics of net mending, navigation, line handling, sea safety and on-deck skills on land and aboard fishing vessels.

The program will take place at the Gig Harbor BoatShop and aboard Gig Harbor-based commercial fishing vessels.

Program participants will be provided with a Crew Training Certificate and list of employment opportunities upon course completion.

To secure a spot or for more information, contact:

Sarah Fisken, Washington Sea Grant: 206-5543-1225 or sfisken@uw.edu

Gig Harbor BoatShop: 253-857-9344 or info@gigharborboatshop.org

Or would you rather work in radio?

There’s far more to radio than hosting a radio program.

If working in the radio industry appeals to you, there are many jobs in front of (and beyond) the microphone.

If public radio in the greater Seattle area sounds interesting, check out this website https://kuow.org/careers.

From producing shows, to reporting, to operating or maintaining sound equipment, to much more, the opportunities are there.

KUOW sums up the changes in emphasis and direction in the American workplace with these words;

Our vision is to broaden conversations and deepen understanding. KUOW is committed to acquiring a diversity of perspectives and voices to realize our aspirations.

We believe that attracting and retaining diverse staff is crucial to serving the communities where we work and live. We are dedicated to the goal of building a diverse and pluralistic staff committed to working in an anti-racist, multicultural environment that promotes racial equity and inclusivity.

If you share our values and our mission and vision speak to you, we invite you to join the KUOW team. Women, Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), veterans and individuals with disabilities are highly encouraged to apply.

Tacoma based independent station KNKX is also hiring. You can check out their openings here – https://www.knkx.org/open-positions.

As never before, workers are taking control, and defining, and re-defining the workplace in ways inconceivable to previous generations.

Consider this profile of indicators of toxic workplaces – https://www.visualcapitalist.com/15-warning-signs-to-identify-a-toxic-work-environment/.