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“Now Hiring!” “Apply Online!”

Bates’ Words of Wisdom
Laurisa Frank

Chances are, anyone who has lived in North Canton has passed by the types of signs mentioned in my column title and more at least ten times a day. From the McDonald’s on Applegrove to the Diebold facility on Main Street, it seems that everyone is desperately searching for workers. However, it also appears that many people are struggling to fi nd jobs and keep them. For the past three years, I have been trying to find where the disconnect could possibly be. It seems like there is an opportunity for a fair trade off here to satisfy everyone, so why is this such a problem? Today is the day that I seek out an answer.

I started off my investigation by trying to see if perhaps the education system was to blame. Could we be sending too many students in one direction and creating a shortage in another? I went to Mrs. Amy Myers, Guidance Department chair, to begin to find my answers. It seems to be a pattern that many of the jobs that are hiring are entry-level or “learning-on-the-job” positions, and I wondered if the problem could be that we are sending too many students to college. According to Myers, 72 percent of students intended to pursue a four-year degree, six percent a two-year degree, three percent went into an apprenticeship program, another three percent went directly into the workforce, another percent entered the military, and the remaining were undecided.

So, it seemed that I had my answer: Maybe it’s just that too many people are attempting to obtain a college degree when there aren’t enough jobs that require degrees to employ them all. Perhaps we just need more people
to enter into the workforce directly or consider a trade. However, while that seems like the obvious answer, I knew that it couldn’t be that simple. There had to be another reason to explain why these jobs aren’t being filled. So, I spoke with Mr. Daryl Revoldt, a North Canton city councilman, in order to find out why North Canton residents aren’t taking these readily available jobs.

“There are a number of explanations,” Revoldt said. “One of them is the weakening of the work ethic. People will go get a job when they need one, they’ll work a while, and then quit and collect unemployment. That problem was fortified by the COVID closures.”

From this, it could be concluded that businesses are frequently understaffed because people just don’t want to work any more. However, in an attempt to believe in the goodness of people, I found it hard to believe that was the case. As I continued speaking to Revoldt, he shed more light on the reasoning behind why there is such a struggle to find workers.

“One of the challenges is that if companies hire people, it has to be worth it for the employee,” he said. “If you’re paying someone $14 an hour who is going to go to school and acquire a skill, but Home Depot will pay $14 an hour, then why acquire the debt? This is a big challenge of the economy: Getting wages that get people out of their parents’ basement.
The jobs that existed thirty years ago are different. It used to be that a guy could go out and buy a new car every three years. Now, twenty bucks doesn’t get you far. A pound of ground beef is six and a half dollars. The challenge for the employers is providing an environment where people are awarded for participation.”

So, perhaps the problem of people not wanting to work is not the laziness that is often blamed on Generation Z. Why would young workers want to put in work at jobs where they are constantly berated by customers and performing less than glamorous tasks, when that job isn’t enough to reasonably live off of?

The question that arose from this was the following: Why aren’t more companies either paying a living wage initially, or providing opportunities to move up quickly? Mr. Phil Ogilvie, the culinary arts program teacher at Hoover, prepares students to go into the culinary field after graduation. Clearly, the program has something figured out, because it eliminates the need for extensive schooling [and the debt that comes with it] while providing a gateway for trade careers for Hoover and compact students. With this in mind, I spoke with Ogilvie in hopes that he would have some ideas on how to reinvent the wheel that is entering into the workforce. What he told me not only answered my previous
question, but also provided a new angle on the issue of employment.

According to Ogilvie, while it appears that many companies are constantly hiring and in desperate need of workers, that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, many of these companies are simply encouraging applications so that they have a stockpile of applicants when their employees inevitably quit; after all, $14 an hour just doesn’t cut it.

It would seem the real issue is working conditions just aren’t good enough to keep people at any given company for an extended period of time; however, it makes sense to try to keep the same employees so that businesses can have a well-trained, knowledgeable staff . Why is it that working conditions aren’t improving?

“The career field is being deluded so that if you don’t work for yourself, you don’t have security or an elongated career,” Ogilvie said. He explained that the revolving door of employees at many businesses is caused by the sudden rush of online hiring and applications. When employees can get a job in a few hours, show up and decide that they don’t like the job, there is no motivation to stay, because they can find another job just as easily.

In conclusion, the employment system is broken. With a lack of accountability from both employers and employees, there is no reason to be better workers or to provide better work. So, how do we solve this problem? Frankly, there isn’t a simple or obvious answer. Without steps from both workers and businesses, the workforce will not improve. At the end of the day, I answered the question that I set out to answer: Why are we always hiring? The question that remains is…“How do we fix a broken system?”

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About the Contributors
AnnaSophia Bates
AnnaSophia Bates, Managing Editor
My name is Anna, and this is my fourth year on staff. Outside of newspaper, I am the co-president of Hoover's speech and debate team, I participate in the school play every year and I love to read, write, bake and crochet.
Laurisa Frank
Laurisa Frank, Copy Editor
My name is Laurisa and I am so excited for my second year on staff. I am a Copy Editor. I also play tennis!