How to Attract Displaced Workers in a Post-Pandemic Economy

Posted by Des Sinkevich on September 22, 2021

While we won’t fully understand the long-range impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for years to come, one thing has become clear: the future of work has been drastically altered. For many employees in the service industry, that means finding a new career. Nearly 40% of workers in service, restaurant, and hospitality roles say they don’t plan to return to their jobs – instead, pivoting toward careers that offer more stability and growth, along with higher wages. This service industry exodus, however, can be beneficial for employers looking to attract new, highly motivated workers. An effective way to do so, while also increasing current employee retention and productivity, is through implementing improved employee benefits, especially an education and training benefits program.

coworkers training with laptop.

Why service industry workers are reassessing their career goals

Even for those who’ve managed to weather the pandemic physically unscathed, the last year and a half have caused many to rethink their career aspirations and happiness with day-to-day job duties. What’s more, with the financial relief of extended and increased unemployment benefits, workers in low-paying roles were able to reassess their futures and take action to change it. Now, restaurant, hotel, and retail workers are searching for stable careers – jobs that won’t be interrupted by pandemic shutdowns, that offer a regular schedule, and provide benefits.

This shift presents new opportunities for employers in manufacturing, healthcare, and other skilled, in-demand industries to attract workers. With nearly 1 in 5 American workers considering a career change, there’s no better time than now to recruit new, highly motivated workers. While the higher wages that skilled trades and healthcare jobs offer is one way to attract employees, more and more workers are searching for jobs – and employers – that align with their values and goals, offering opportunity for growth and advancement.

The benefit of offering education opportunities to employees

Like healthcare and 401K matches, education opportunities are becoming a benefit that workers expect from their companies. As businesses compete to hire the millions of workers looking for new jobs, education benefits are helping companies stand out to workers looking for growth. In fact, workers are more likely to join a company that offers education benefits and opportunities for training, and they’re more likely to stay with the company longer.

In addition to increasing employee retention, offering learning and development opportunities within your company can have long-reaching impact on your bottom line. Education and training can benefit your business by
  • Reducing turnover. When Chipotle began offering education benefits to its employees, those who took advantage of the program were 3.5 times more likely to stay with the company.
  • Building up your leadership team. Those same employees at Chipotle were also 7 times more likely to move into management roles after completing a degree or other program through their learning and development benefits.
  • Creating a strong culture. Studies have shown that generous education benefits also improve employee satisfaction, leading to increased engagement and productivity, which can improve overall company culture. Happier employees are more likely to work harder, meet bigger goals, and act as ambassadors for the company.

Grow your business with a training program from Penn Foster

There’s no doubt that employers looking to attract new workers need to stand out. As more businesses increase starting wages, standing out means offering something different that prospective employees actually want. Not only does education offer the opportunity for employees to grow in their roles, it also creates a strong internal talent pipeline that only benefits your company. Through Penn Foster, you can build an effective learning and development program that offers flexible online training in high-demand industries. If you’re interested in implementing effective training and development programs for your new and current employees, reach out to a Penn Foster training expert today.