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Managing Expectations in the Changing Job Market

By Ryan Schaal, Director of Client Delivery

“Our country is hovering at an 8% unemployment rate, so how am I still struggling to fill my open jobs?”

In recent weeks, I’ve been inundated with questions just like this one from clients across an array of different industries. In what has commonly been portrayed as a buyer’s market when it comes to talent, why are some companies experiencing difficulties in sourcing and recruiting qualified workers? Although there is no simple answer to this question, a more complex justification is uncovered upon studying one of America’s population of unemployed workers.

A Common Misconception

While there are dozens of erroneous perceptions surrounding the current labor pool, arguably the biggest is that many believe there is a plethora of available talent on the market. Findings from a recent SIA report show that approximately 7.5 million jobs were lost within the hospitality space at the height of COVID-19—effectively wiping out about 50% of the industry’s entire workforce almost overnight. Yet even though thousands of event venues, hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and other hospitality companies were forced to furlough or lay off their workforces, many of these employees possess a specialized, customer-facing skillset that can sometimes be difficult to apply to other industries.

Hospitality Workers Hoping for Work

To date, many of these former hospitality employees still find themselves jobless. With unemployment benefits having shifted to state control in August and the Families First Act expiring at the end of 2020, the pressure is mounting for these workers to find new job opportunities.

Experts are anticipating that it may be a few more months until the demand for hospitality workers picks back up. As companies continue to shift from more of a retail presence to an online one, these organizations can seize a golden opportunity to capture this available talent. Plus, with the holiday season just around the corner, their workforce demands will begin to ramp up in a hurry.

Bridging the Skills Gap

While the desire for hospitality workers to get involved in warehouse jobs may exist, the hands-on skills and overall expectations required for success in such a role may not. For companies with an abundance of distribution and logistics positions that need to be filled, there will undoubtedly be an employee disconnect that must be addressed when targeting this specific portion of the workforce. Ultimately, these organizations will realize the need to invest time and resources into designing skill-based training and development programs. Getting these workers up-to-speed on working in a manufacturing environment will be crucial to their overall success. Learning the ins and outs of a warehouse or manufacturing setting can be a daunting task for any employee, especially one that has never worked in this unique setting before. A degree of patience and understanding will be necessary for companies to effectively encourage these workers.


As our country recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies will continue to ramp up their hiring processes at varying paces—depending on industry and geography, among other variables. If your organization is seeking to boost its pool of talented resources, developing recruiting strategies for workers within the hospitality industry could be a viable solution. While some of these individuals possess unique skill sets that may not immediately translate to your business, these employees—if given proper training, growth, and development—present a long-term answer to your employment challenges.

Have an employment-related question that you’d like to pose to Ryan? Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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