Employers struggling to fill low wage jobs with high turnover

Younger workers aren't as interested in working in sweaty, greasy, restaurant kitchens.

Laura Oakes
June 06, 2018 - 11:43 am

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There seems to be no shortage of help wanted signs and hiring fairs in the Twin Cities these days.

But it remains to be seen if the fresh crop of high school and college workers will make a dent in the number of unfilled, minimum wage and low-paying jobs.

At Brit's Pub in downtown Minneapolis, finding and keeping cooks during the busy summer patio season is a big challenge.

"Because once they get hired here, they use this - even if it's only two weeks' experience - and then go somewhere else that might pay them another dollar an hour," says Kitchen Manager Greg Coppock.

Coppock says it seems like younger workers aren't as interested in working in sweaty, greasy, restaurant kitchens in general.

"Plus the plethora of restaurants opening in this town is incredible. Every time a new place opens, that's ten, twenty people that they need, on top of the people everybody else needs, that just aren't there anymore, really," says Coppock.

The most recent figures from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development show an uptick in job vacancies statewide, with lower wage jobs like restaurant work, retail, and child care having the most openings. Officials say that's primarily due to a lot of turnover, as employees are constantly moving to better-paid positions or more full-time work.

Nationally, the unemployment rate is about 3.8%, meaning the  US just caught up with Minnesota, which last year saw more job openings than jobless seeking work.