MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Since the Spring of 2021, Americans have been quitting their jobs in record numbers. Some because they didn’t have childcare in the middle of the pandemic, and others because of mistreatment by employers and customers. But, most have been looking for, and finding, better-paying jobs with better benefits.
In November, forty thousand workers quit their jobs in Mississippi, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forty-six thousand quit in Arkansas, and 120,000 quit in Tennessee.
All that quitting is part of a trend that has come to be known as the Great Resignation. It’s still going and it’s still working.
Gerald McHenry, the C.E.O. of Jay Express, a small Memphis-based logistics company has felt the effects of the Great Resignation, having to replace delivery drivers who are looking for better pay and benefits. Since the Great Resignation, he’s had to raise his starting pay for drivers from $16.50-per-hour to $18.25-per-hour.
“We’re offering thousand dollar sign-on bonus. We’re offering tuition reimbursement up to $5,000 per year. We’re offering medical, vision, dental, and 401-K,” said McHenry.
Despite boosting the pay and benefits package for Jay Express, McHenry is still having trouble attracting drivers to operate his business at full capacity.
“Business owners are in need of employees, it’s simple, said Shannon Crafton, V.P. of Client Services, Millennium Search. “But, what do you have to offer your employees that make your culture strong and somewhere they want to come to work every day?”
Along with pay and benefits enhancements, he’s embraced the need to address “cultural issues” at Jay Express, recently giving away Playstation game systems to workers.
But, he said, for lower-income, unskilled workers, money talks. So, he recently started offering $1,000 sign-on bonuses to attract new employees. To earn the bonus, new workers need to remain on the job for thirty days.
“Every single person that qualified for the sign-on bonus quit right after they got the check,” McHenry said..
McHenry and Crafton both said there are signs that all the quitting will ease in 2023, and workers will be the big winners, with better pay and benefits.
“Every time you go to the grocery store, you’ve go a carton of eggs for five to eight dollars,” Crafton said. “People have to work, but they don’t just have to work anywhere.”
“We usually get four to five people into training each week, in the last two weeks we’ve been getting fifteen to sixteen people each week,” said McHenry.
More pay, better benefits, and more people applying for jobs. A sign that good help won’t be as hard to find in 2023, but it will cost companies more to find it.
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