If your company is anything like ours, then you have been extremely busy these past few months. Our calendar has been filled with lots of new work rolling in, including a nice mix of decent-sized new construction jobs, some remodels, and a steady flow of clients new and old wanting upgrades, such as installing a new TV, replacing a remote control, improving network/Wi-Fi performance, or adding an audio zone.
Part of what is keeping us so busy is that we are in desperate need of at least one new employee. Oftentimes our schedule gets pushed back just due to the simple lack of having a second person that can help to lift a TV up onto or off of a wall mount.
Admittedly, Myrtle Beach, SC is not the hotspot for CI hiring, but my business partner, Allen, and I are baffled over how difficult it has become for us to find a new employee and we’ve been trying to find someone to hire for the past year.
And it isn’t that we’ve set an unrealistically high bar for hiring; at this point we are willing to consider virtually anyone that meets the qualification of “breathing and able to show up to work on time.”
We’ve posted ads at the local technical college, posted on the job board at Craigslist, and had “NOW HIRING EXPERIENCED TECH” on the marquee in front of our store for a couple of months.
The total number of applicants that have come in from these attempts? Zero.
Not. One. Damn. Person.
Why is this? Where are all the people out there that are supposedly in need of work and looking for a good job that could potentially turn into a career?
In the past when we’d post a call for hiring on our board, we’d get a half-dozen people that would come in and drop off resumes. Often these were young people just out of school who were out looking to do something different than a fast food or retail job and wanted to be involved in something cool like audio/video installations. Where have all these people gone?
Not to cast a wide net of dispersion, but it seems like many of the current generation—the so-called Millennials—have less interest in working at a place like ours. Of the 20-somethings I know, many of them are not working, working a part-time job while living at home, working for their parents in some capacity, or still in school.
Allen and I were kicking this around, and we think part of this has to do with the wholesale change in the way that modern young adults have grown up with electronics.
Back in the day, Allen and I (both in our mid-40s) grew up playing with our fathers’ stereos; we would play records, we would play tapes, we grew up with the mass adoption of CDs. As we got a bit older we got stereo systems of our own. We’d join the Columbia Tape (then CD) Club (over-and-over) and make mix tapes for friends. Then we got into car stereo. When friends or relatives needed help connecting a VCR or new TV, they would call us. When home theater burst onto the scene we were just coming into a bit of financial wherewithal and we were there to follow the rapid technological improvements as things rapidly went from VHS, to Laser Disc, to DVD, to Blu-ray.
This love of gear and music and movies led us both to seeing electronics as a viable career path.
In fact, during high school I worked at a now defunct big box store called The Goodguys! I worked in the stock room and delivered/set up TVs and stereos. Besides loving being around all the gear—and being there to help unload the delivery truck the day that all the new video games launched—I took that job because I wanted to use the generous employee discount to get an awesome car stereo.
Another commonality between Allen and me is that neither of us went to/completed college. And, heck, if I had gone to school for four years and came out with a ton of debt and a specialized degree, pulling speaker wire and mounting TVs probably wouldn’t be high up on my ideal career track either. Today, with such a push on higher education, I think we are losing these potential employees that would have considered taking a starting position as a kind of apprenticeship to learn the trade and grow with a company.
Are you experiencing any kind of hiring crisis in your market? And if not, where do you turn to find new people to fill out your staff?