Can’t Find the Employees You Need? You’re Not Alone!


In June, Hawaii’s jobless rate dropped to just 4.0%—the lowest level of the year and the 10th lowest in the nation—and employers throughout the state are feeling the effects. Qualified candidates are hard to come by and many companies are scrambling to fill their open positions. Can your business relate?

We sat down with our team of knowledgeable staffing managers to discuss this issue and find out how businesses can maintain a successful recruitment strategy in the face of Hawaii’s worker shortage. The biggest take-away? Employers cannot use the same tactics that have been used in the past—they simply won’t work in this difficult job market. Businesses must be willing to make changes to their hiring methods or miss out on finding top talent. Keep reading for a few key points that our managers recommend you consider as you map out a hiring strategy.

Think about adjusting your pay rates

It’s important to stay informed about current pay scales for the positions you’re hiring. Shani Silva, Manager for ALTRES Industrial, encourages employers to review whether their starting pay rate or benefits package is competitive enough to attract new employees. “In this market, qualified applicants will receive offers from many companies,” says Silva. “Low unemployment means that our roles are reversed—jobseekers are the ones with the options while companies are fighting for talent. You need to find a way to stand out from the rest of the crowd and make applicants want to work for you.”

Another thing companies should keep in mind is that Hawaii’s minimum wage increase is set to rise again in January 2016 to $8.50/hour. Adjusting pay rates throughout your staff will likely be necessary at that time in order to both continue attracting applicants and retain your current workforce.

Train and promote from within

Part of adapting to this new job market is finding unique ways to utilize and get the most out of your current workforce. “Don’t be afraid to invest in your workers,” says Emy Yamauchi-Wong, Manager for ALTRES Office and Technical. “Instead of hiring someone new, train a current employee so he/she can move up to that role. Advancing your people in-house helps strengthen employee loyalty, something that should not be overlooked in today’s market.”

Consider a temporary employee

Many companies choose to use temporary employees in order to allow more time to find the right permanent hire. “Temporary workers are a huge benefit to companies, especially in a job market like this,” says Lisa Kodama, Temporary Placement Manager for ALTRES Office. “Bringing on a temporary worker will help you avoid lost productivity and keep your team from getting backlogged. Operational demands are taken care of while you search for the right person to add to your core team.”

Still, employers must keep in mind that while temporary employees help buy you some time to recruit the right applicant, acting fast once the candidate is found is imperative

Be ready to act quickly

“Quality employees are in high-demand right now,” says Michelle Conrey, Regional Manager for the Neighbor Islands. “The unfortunate truth is that you can lose out on great candidates by taking too long to make a decision. Good candidates won’t be without a job for long, so once you find someone you need to act quickly.”

A good piece of advice for employers is to create a strong job description. Knowing exactly what qualifications, skills, and personality are necessary for the position beforehand will help employers feel comfortable with making a quick yet smart hiring decision.

There’s no sugar coating the truth: finding quality employees is difficult. Talking with someone who knows the ins and outs of our current job market and can provide guidance and advice on Hawaii’s dynamic workforce is a great first step in making sure your businesses is equipped to tackle this shortage head-on.

Feel free to contact us and talk with one of our experienced staffing managers about how ALTRES can help with your hiring needs.