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Attracting the best workers: what people want and say "yes" to a job

While companies are looking to hire more staff, people who are looking for the perfect position say they want benefits and opportunities to grow within the company.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — It’s being called the "great resignation." People are leaving their jobs at historic levels.

It’s becoming a major issue across the country and in Hampton Roads. Companies are desperately searching for staff as people leave their jobs at unprecedented rates.

“I realize there are many jobs out there,” said Evette Basnight-Little. “I’ve learned that where employers say, 'Oh, I’m looking for the perfect employee and I need to make sure it’s a right fit for me.' I’ve also realized I have to make sure the employer is a good fit for me.”

Basnight-Little said she left a part-time position last year. She’s done contract work while looking for a full-time job in business, customer service, payroll, or time management.

“In November, I decided hey I need to start getting my resume updated and I need to put myself back on the market,” she explained. “I wanted to make sure I was very marketable because the competition is steep now.”

Basnight-Little made a checklist on what she needs to say yes to a job. On the list, includes a positive work culture, incentives, working in an office instead of from home.

She said benefits are a must.

“If a company has great benefits to offer and they have this great working culture environment for the employees, that’s a plus,” said Basnight-Little. “I would say that’s a plus so I would be willing to compromise the salary if the benefits are great.”

Staffing and recruiting companies like Aerotek out of Virginia Beach are working to match Hampton Roads workers with businesses.

“The number of people that are looking for work relative to the number of jobs that are out there, it’s just so skewed. There’s a shortage of I think a little over 5 million workforce workers for the workforce right now,” said Chris Hines, who is Aerotek’s director of market operations.

Hines said the industries having the hardest time finding employees are restaurants, manufacturing and distribution facilities as well as logistic companies.

“Pay is a really big part of initially attracting people and then it’s about opportunity and the environment to actually retain people,” Hines said.

Several local business owners say they are stretched thin and are now offering hiring bonuses, benefits, and even childcare to find employees.

“Restaurants are trying to quote-unquote 'think outside the box,'” explained Virginia Beach Restaurant Association Executive Director, Martha Davenport. “They are looking at flexible scheduling, employee benefits. The biggest thing is what we were doing yesterday is not going to work for tomorrow.”

Davenport said a few years ago, some small businesses didn’t have to worry about offering all the extras. She said now staffing shortages are creating challenges.

She explained, “If you go to restaurants, typical restaurants are not open seven days a week anymore. They are closed one day a week or they are no longer open for lunch.”

When it comes down to it, experts said people are looking for more than just a job. Evette Basnight-Little said she wants all the perks and won’t stop until she finds the perfect fit.

So that’s where I am now. I am looking for employment, and I’m taking it one day at a time,” she said.

If you’re unemployed and are looking for a job in Hampton Roads, click here.

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