Lauren Winans, Chief Executive Officer and Principal HR Consultant for WBENC-Certified Next Level Benefits, discusses some of the reasons why employers are having difficulty hiring employees. Next Level Benefits provides HR consultation, freelancers, and project managers for your team.

It seems everywhere we look we are seeing signs that say “Help Wanted” or “We’re Hiring.” However, the current demand for employees greatly outweighs the actual number of people seeking these positions. One would think that with the number of people unemployed in this country and many unemployment benefits having lapsed, there would be a much stronger connection matching employers in need with workers seeking employment. Where is the disconnect?

Major Reasons for Employee Gaps

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a particularly strong impact on this situation. Many workers in the Baby Boomer generation have decided to retire early and collect settlement packages from their employers in an effort to avoid the radical changes in policy and procedure in the workplace. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 30 million Baby Boomers left the job market and retired in 2020.

Also, many people have left the workforce looking to keep themselves safe from the pandemic. The U.S. Census Bureau reported earlier this year that around 10 million U.S. mothers living with their own school-age children were not actively working in January 2021 – 1.4 million more than during January 2020. Many mothers, caretakers, and people with immune-compromised conditions have elected to remain home, reducing the amount of contact with people that occurs frequently in the labor market.

Another common trend we have now seen from the pandemic is employees working from home. In Upwork’s “Future of Workforce Pulse Report”, it was predicted that 1 in 4 Americans would be working remotely through 2021. Many people are looking for positions that would allow them to work from home either full-time or part-time, offering an element of flexibility.

This has also contributed to many people abandoning the traditional nine-to-five workday and instead looking to acquire part-time jobs, start their own business, or try freelance work.

Recent labor statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tell the tale – there are more open positions in the American labor market than there are employees to fill them. According to the recently released October 2021 job report, BLS reports that approximately five million Americans have left the workforce entirely, while 6.8 million Americans are considered unemployed and actively searching for a job. BLS reported in the August job openings report that there are approximately 10 million job openings. With only 6.8 million Americans who are readily able to fill open positions, it’s no wonder that hiring new employees has become a Herculean feat.

Those that are just starting out in the career world are providing another source of difficulty.  Many college students are graduating and entering the workforce with a sense of high expectations – too high perhaps. Many of these college graduates do not want to apply for entry-level positions and the lower salaries that accompany these positions. Many want a job that matches their skills and that pays well, especially with several graduates having the dark cloud of student loan debt over their heads. Therefore, it seems that the positions many employers have to offer do not coincide with the expectations and desires of these potential employees.

An Employees’ Market

Nevertheless, the high demand from employers does make this an employees’ market. This allows workers to be more selective about which jobs to apply for and to thoroughly assess their skills and use of time. The competitive nature of this scenario has even led some employers to offer signing bonuses to the right candidates. However, it is also important to keep in mind that these open positions can create high competition among certain applicants as well, so it is beneficial to keep resumés up to date and relevant.

About Next Level Benefits

Next Level Benefits is a certified women-owned business providing HR consultation, freelancers, and project managers for your team. Each team member has at least 20 years of corporate HR experience from such companies as American Eagle Outfitters, Ariba, Ascena, Citigroup, GNC, Hess, IBM, Levi Strauss, Netflix, TBC Corporation, and U.S. Airways. Led by Lauren Winans, Next Level Benefits temporarily fills in the gaps on your team.

Next Level Benefits can help develop sustainable HR strategies to align your company’s brand, mission, and organizational goals. They can create HR communications plans that educate and engage as well as provide HR consulting. They can fill in gaps and partner with existing teams to accelerate progress, assess current processes, develop roadmaps, and draft HR process manuals to train your existing staff. Next Level Benefits can lead planned or unplanned projects such as new vendor implementations, audits, and M&A activity.


Lauren Winans
Chief Executive Officer & Principal HR Consultant

With 20 years of human resources and employee benefits experience, Lauren Winans possesses a deep expertise of HR best practices and what resonates with employees. She founded Next Level Benefits in 2019, offering HR teams access to former corporate HR professionals on-demand when they need them most.