San Francisco company so desperate for staff that boss appeals for ‘anyone that shows up’

Businesses across the US are struggling to hire staff, but debate continues as to the reasons

Io Dodds
San Francisco
Monday 06 December 2021 19:14
<p>Kaiser Permanente health workers in San Francisco were among many across the US to be emboldened to industrial action amid the ongoing labour shortage</p>

Kaiser Permanente health workers in San Francisco were among many across the US to be emboldened to industrial action amid the ongoing labour shortage

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A flower shop in San Francisco has become so desperate to hire workers that it posted a sign offering to hire "anyone that shows up".

Andrei Abramov, the owner of French Tulip Flowers in the city’s upscale Noe Valley neighbourhood, told ABC 7 News that he and his girlfriend are the shop’s only staff right now and are working all hours to keep it open.

"Right now we’ll take anyone who are willing to learn and stay with us," he said. "We had two employees and one of our employees retired, and one employee just opened his own shop."

It is only the latest incident of shops or restaurants issuing desperate pleas for workers as the US labour shortage continues, with one pizza place in Alabama offering on Facebook to "literally hire anyone".

Low-waged businesses across the country are struggling to find employees amid the so-called "great resignation", which has seen the monthly rate of workers quitting their jobs rise higher than at any point since at least the year 2000.

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics suggested that 3 per cent of the whole American workforce quit in September, compared to lows of 1.6 per cent in April 2020 and 1.2 per cent in the aftermath of the previous financial crash in 2009.

The pattern has continued even after the end of emergency pandemic unemployment benefits, suggesting that it may have more to do with workers reassessing their lives after a global calamity and burning out on the poor pay and conditions that are endemic in the service trade.

Many businesses, including in the San Francisco Bay Area, have offered hiring bonuses and finder’s fees, as well as lowered their minimum qualifications, though fewer have offered higher wages.

Small business owners have said that they cannot afford to raise outlays after the shock of the pandemic, unlike larger firms that can absorb the cost, whereas restaurant workers have said they are finally asking for what their labour is worth and should be compensated for the additional risk of exposure.

"Get used to it. It’s not going away. It’s not temporary," said Los Angeles economist Christopher Thornberg at an event in September. "You’re going to have more demand than you know what to do with, but you’re not going to be able to hire anybody."

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