SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Free mental health care, $1,000 signing bonuses and advertisements saying they pay more than unemployment are just a few things that some companies are doing to attract potential workers.
The current labor shortage is impacting many businesses. Locally and worldwide, this is being credited to unemployment benefits. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is just one of the many restaurants in Syracuse that is experiencing a labor shortage but is taking unique steps to get new workers.
“We increased our start rate, most jobs start at $15 an hour, which minimum wage has not changed to that yet in upstate… we are trying to set what it should be like for a restaurant,” said Jason Ryan, Dinosaur marketing director.
Currently, government unemployment benefits are paying more than a minimum wage job in Syracuse. The minimum wage in Syracuse is $12.50 an hour and in New York City $15.
Along with the pay increase, at the beginning of the pandemic, Ryan offered signing bonuses of $250 to new employees who were there for 90 days or more. The use of TikTok videos to show a day in the life of a manager is another form of recruitment that Ryan used to appeal to a younger audience. The meaning behind Ryan’s attempts to get more workers runs deeper than filling a gap or meeting a number. He considers his business a lifestyle.
“I think one thing that Dino has going for us is, it’s almost a lifestyle…We have so many staff that has been here 20, 30 years and this is their family. It becomes a part of their everyday life,” Ryan said.
As of right now, at least 26 states have reduced unemployment benefits in an attempt to combat the labor shortage. Unemployment benefits are expected to end on September 6th.