Businesses and job hunters adjust to competitive job market

Whether you’re looking to get hired or doing the hiring, the job market is becoming more competitive as the country starts getting back to normal.

Job hunters and employers are finding their own ways keep up with competition and stand out.

Ruth Garretson upholsters furniture in Bedford at Sam Moore Furniture. At the start of the pandemic, she worked at Kroger and while the job search was difficult, she’s happy where she is now.

“I have a lot of restaurant experience and even management and this, especially for this area, has been awesome and definitely brought my income back up to par so that I can better provide for my family,” Garretson said.

She is one of many new hires and won’t be the last.

Human resources manager Cindy Thomas at Sam Moore said they’re busier than ever so they are looking to fill 25 more positions. It’s been a struggle hiring when everyone else is hiring too.

“We have increased our sign-on bonuses (for applicants with experience), we are implementing surveys, we’re trying to do stay interviews just to see what we can do to improve our process here,” said Thomas. “It’s a very competitive job market right now, anything we can do to learn what the employees want.”

The company told 10 News the average starting pay rate is $12.00 per hour, but many of the positions offer additional piecework rates and entry-level positions include a 32-week training program.

The company is hosting a job fair Wednesday, May 19 from 9 a.m. to noon and then from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. They are encouraging people of all skill levels to come for on-site interviews and tours. You can apply for a job before the event, here.

Goodwill Industries of the Valleys had a job fair in Roanoke on May 15. Their goal is to not just connect employers with candidates but help job hunters with the competitive skills to set them apart.

“Goodwill really helps people looking for jobs or maybe up-skill to get a better job or maybe just improve their skills to be better where they are,” said Chelsea Moran, marketing and public relations manager.

The organization’s job services programs serve 45 counties and 14 cities in Virginia from Charlottesville to Roanoke and all the way down to Southside. Right now, the demand for services isn’t as high as it was during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, but still higher than past years.

“Throughout 2020 through the end of April goodwill has served over 14 thousand individuals throughout our service area,” said Moran.

Employers aren’t shy about asking for Goodwill’s help too, they try and fulfill a liaison role between job seekers and companies.

“We’re still seeing people who need jobs, we’re seeing businesses who need employees and that’s something that Goodwill has been doing, we’re trying to get people back to work that’s our mission,” said Moran.

For a list of work-related events and classes, click here. There are also virtual services you can find here.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.