New Orleans a Tough Sell for Staffing and Employment Recruiters
According to employment recruiters in New Orleans, drawing qualified employment candidates to the city was a difficult proposition before Hurricane Katrina. After the city was nearly decimated by that historic storm and is still in the midst of rebuilding both its buildings and its reputation, bringing in new employees is nearly impossible. On the list of concerns for prospective employees are flaws in the city’s leadership and education system, uncertainty surrounding the city’s now infamous levees and, of course, the hurricane season that will begin in just a few more months and that looms over the beleaguered city.
In an attempt to draw employees from outside the city, employers are offering a variety of incentives. Benefits packages have been increased and, in general, companies are searching for ways to improve on quality of life issues for employees. St. Tammany Parish Hospital, for example, currently offers what they refer to as creative pay practices and creative scheduling to recruit and retain registered nurses.
In the city, pay rates within the IT industry are comparable with those of other regions, but after factoring in cost of living, including costly flood insurance, Houston and other nearby areas become a much more attractive option for would-be employees.
And though rate of pay is not the only issue on the minds of employees that can be drawn to the city, it is a huge factor. Most firms are simply paying employees more now, or at least studying it as an option. Other firms, such as Chevron, aren’t increasing salaries, but have greatly increased signing bonuses as a way of luring employees. According to a survey by Salary.com, businesses in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Florida that were affected by hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, more than 28% of companies in those regions increased hourly wages or salaries, while 6% of companies offered salaries employees an average signing bonus of $1,700.
Yet another method for scrounging employees has been to hire them away from competitors, convincing retirees to come out of retirement and offering flex time work options to former working moms who are now out of the work force.
Even those methods are proving difficult, however, because of the overriding issue of housing. According to Frank Loria, president of the Personal Consulting Group recruiting firm, Housing is going to be an issue for any level of the work force. Whether you can’t move into your tenement or you can’t move into your three-story home, you can’t move in.
In the interim, New Orleans must continue to try to instill confidence in its residents and would-be residents by improving upon its levee system and overcoming leadership and education shortcomings that are pronounced. Until then, selling employment candidates on the city of New Orleans will be a difficult one, at best.