Hiring hassles challenge Glenwood Springs businesses
Glenwood Springs is an ever-growing city, but growth is hard when businesses can’t hire people to work for them.
“According to Indeed analytics, we’re in a 99% hardest to hire area,” said Glenwood Springs Jimmy John’s franchise owner Matthew Spidell.
Almost every industry in Glenwood Springs is feeling understaffed and struggling to hire the ideal amount of employees, from the local food industry to police officers and engineers.
A lot of businesses and government organizations are raising their pay to accommodate housing or commuting costs. Colorado minimum wage is $12.56 an hour, yet the companies Zippia, Ziprecruiter and Indeed all have data that says the average pay for an entry level job in Colorado is $16 and the average entry level pay in Glenwood is $17.
High Country Gems and Minerals owner Patti “Rock Star” Neuroth said she recently raised her pay and started posting it. That has helped bring more people in to apply.
“I gave everybody raises because they deserve it, but it is one of those things that’s part of the picture,” she said. “People need more money, so you raise that, too, hoping that that would be enough to attract somebody.”
Finding people who are actually a good fit for the job is now one of the biggest challenges for Neuroth. She said that people used to come in and apply for the job because they were passionate about rocks and gems, but now they have to screen their interviews better to make sure people will be able to keep up with the knowledge required to work in the store.
The Glenwood Springs Police Department is also having trouble finding officers. Although police retention has been low across the nation, Glenwood Springs has had additional challenges hiring officers.
“Not new to our region are housing concerns,” Chief Joseph Deras wrote in an email. “We have also had candidates begin the hiring process, and when it looks like they will be successful, they start to consider housing. They have determined this to be an insurmountable challenge and have withdrawn their application.”
With these challenges, the city has kept the wages at the same rate as other regional offices, but Deras is determined to maintain the integrity of the reputation of the Glenwood police force.
“I refuse to lower our high standards for the sake of hosting another police car on the road handling calls for service,” he wrote.
Spidell said he has employees who commute from Parachute and Rifle, and even one employee who commuted from Grand Junction last year. He said hiring for employees has been brutal for the company.
Spidell, a member of the Glenwood Springs ad hoc committee on creating affordable workforce housing, said he has created individual incentives for his employees to accommodate whatever they need.
“Being involved and truly caring about people helps the most,” Spidell wrote in an email.
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