With the number of jobs outpacing qualified workers, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce is going into uncharted waters this fall — holding a Saturday job fair.
The last fair was held on a weekday in March, drawing 750 people and 70-plus employers to the Gainesville Civic Center, where tables spilled into the hallways.
Chamber officials said they could have used even more room for companies, and even Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler suggested a second fair on a Saturday in the fall, chamber president and CEO Kit Dunlap said.
Butler’s suggestion lined up with what companies, particularly manufacturers, said in a chamber survey.
“We’re thinking we may get a different audience,” Dunlap said on Monday, Aug. 27. “And we’re open to what the employers want to do.”
She said 35 companies have signed up so far for the Oct. 13 event, which will also be at the civic center, and that number could rise to 50.
“The economy’s good and everybody’s hiring, but we know it’s difficult for companies (filling jobs),” Dunlap said.
Fall job fair
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13
Where: Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St.How much: Free to attend
The 750 people at the March fair sounds like a big number, but 900 showed up at the chamber’s 2017 fair — a number that shows it’s a job seeker’s market, with workers finding it much easier than in past years to snag a job.
Stacey Reece, franchise owner of Spherion Staffing Services in Gainesville, said in a May interview he had seen a scenario where a worker takes a job, then four days later, they quit “because somebody a month ago they interviewed with calls them back and says, ‘Now I need you.’”
“Demand for employees across all sectors continues to be strong in our area,” with workers moving between employers to increase pay, Reece said Monday.
“Unfortunately, when the employer goes to replace the employee, they find out either they have to increase wages or settle for an employee with lesser skills and invest in retraining,” he said.
Also, employers are continuing to evaluate wages and benefits and determine where their ranges need to be to remain competitive and retain qualified workers, Reece said.
“It’s going to be exciting to see what a fall Saturday (fair) will bring us,” he said.
The chamber states in a press release it “is dedicated to providing resources to match employers' job openings with skilled, quality employees.”
The event is sponsored by Spherion and King's Hawaiian, which operates a plant in Oakwood. Also involved in coordinating the event are Lanier Technical College, the Gainesville Area Employers Committee and Georgia Department of Labor.
As parking is spread out at the civic center, a shuttle will be available to bring job seekers to the event.
“We’re ready to go,” Dunlap said.