COLUMBUS, Ohio — A new survey reveals Ohio small businesses are still being hit hard by worker shortages.
The Ohio Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business found 72% of the state’s small businesses are still having trouble hiring for open spots.
“COVID-19 and the pandemic has triggered this and has dramatically changed the workforce in many ways,” said Roger Geiger, executive director of the Ohio Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business. “Probably forever.”
While brought on by the pandemic, Geiger believes the labor shortage was inevitable.
“We were headed to this cliff anyway before the pandemic,” said Geiger. “When you think about the Baby Boomer era, they were getting ready to retire and that’s a big pool of people who just made the decision, ‘Hey I’m going to retire early and I’m not going to go back.'"
Aside from this demographic retiring, Geiger said work-from-home has also created new hiring challenges. While it gives people flexibility, he said it’s not an option for some industries.
“There’s certain business you can’t run that way. You can’t run a restaurant without people in the restaurant, you can’t run a nursing home facility without people wanting to come in,” said Geiger.
Laura Daly is a partner of Royal Document Destruction, a paper shredding business that originated in Columbus.
“We’ve been in business for 27 years and this is the hardest it’s ever been to hire people,” said Daly. “This is no easier than staying open during the earliest day of the pandemic.”
An essential business, she said the worker shortage ultimately impacts her customers.
“This is incredibly frustrating as a business owner because we can’t provide the customer service we’re used to providing because we can’t get the staff.”
Daly said Royal Document Destruction increased its wages this year to stay competitive.
She urges those looking for jobs to consider small businesses.
“The difference when you work at a small business is you feel the impact you make,” said Daly. “I think when you find the right people, they do want to stay, they do want to work for you and they realize they’re not just a number.”
The NFIB represents 22,000 small, independently owned businesses across Ohio.