WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Niagara County Department of Employment and Training hosted a job fair with over 40 employers on Wednesday afternoon. The Director, Don Jablonski, said they had to turn down at least 15 other employers that wanted the opportunity to find employees in Niagara County.
“These companies are desperately looking for new employees to fill positions they have not been able to fill for probably a year or more,” Jablonski said.
Jablonski said he’s seeing most companies in Niagara County add signing bonuses, increase their starting rates, or vamp up their benefits to get people to apply.
“Normally at 15 dollars, they are going up to $17.50 or sometimes they are even eclipsing $20 an hour just to attract enough employees to have someone to pick from,” Jablonski said.
Two companies that are increasing wages are Mosquito Joe and IIMak. The Senior HR Manager for IIMak, Jim Muscoreil, said the applicant pool for the manufacturing company is so small because many people are choosing to stay on unemployment benefits.
“It’s been the hardest challenge of my life. I’ve been in HR for 20 something years,” Muscoreil said. “The unemployment levels are so high and with the extra incentives from the state and federal government, it certainly has created a challenge.”
Muscoreil said IIMak increased its starting salary from the $15-$16 range to anywhere between $17 to $19 for most entry level production jobs.
Scott Franasiak, the Owner and Operator at Mosquito Joe Mosquito Joe of the Greater Buffalo Region, said his mosquito control service is increasing its starting rate from a little over minimum wage to $15.
“In terms of the applicant flow, probably the lowest I’ve ever seen since we have been in business,” Franasiak said. “We’ve increased our starting pay and have become very aggressive with salary increased to keep people that are top performers.”
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