The Invisible Unemployed: Where are the people looking for jobs?
In an environment where we’re looking at a looming recession, cutbacks, and loss of income because of lack of staff, the post-pandemic layoff question that looms is: where is everyone? Where is the clamoring for a job that we’ve seen in past post-traumatic financial periods in the US? In-person jobs, especially in retail and food are ghost towns for applicants and offer increasingly substantial bonuses, but to no avail. We keep hearing the news cycle on unemployment, where are the remaining unemployed? Furthermore, why are the unemployed numbers going down, but the stats remain the same, and the jobs that need to be filled to have society function still open?
For every unemployed worker, there are 1.9 vacant jobs for them to fill. The job market is swelling with opportunity, but it would be remiss to say that the whole market hasn’t fundamentally changed post-pandemic. More people are choosing to work from home, changing their priorities, reallocating their time, and that doesn’t always include going to their place of work. There are new skillsets that are yet to be fulfilled for some office jobs and work-from-home options, but as for retail and fast food, this gap in the pay and commute sector may be the worst off.
Fast-food restaurants are trying to offer bonuses, extra pay, loan help, and extra time off, all to just try to get an employee to stick around temporarily. What these industries are missing is the adaptability to the times and understanding that their in-person workforce might be able to come in and deliver the food to the customer, but there are aspects of their business that no longer require a full-time employee. Enter services like BiteNinja. BiteNinja provides an ordering feature that allows the customer to keep the same experience at the window or walk-up area. The customer will order from a video conference screen where a BiteNinja worker is stationed remotely, and then move on to the in-person employees to collect their food. This not only removes the geographic issue of not having enough people in an area or enough new employees to work at once, but also allows people who need a job but can’t commute because of family needs, disability, or any other reason.
The money spent on a feature like BiteNinja would pay for itself relatively quickly considering it cuts the cost of employees in half and increases the ability to operate a business effectively with more hours and more productivity.
In this economy, it’s going to take a collaboration of new technology, quickly adapting businesses, and employees to make the new dynamic work for the workforce and the industry. This new tech solves the geographical component and the desire to work, you’re gaining the input of tech that takes employees who want badly to work and matches them with businesses that truly need them in these uncertain times. The current landscape of employment is uncharted territory, and it’s going to take new practices and continued conversation to make it all work towards a better future.