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Companies have trouble filling jobs as states reopen during pandemic

Jobs expert: Employees are re-skilling and are not looking back.

NORFOLK, Va. — As more people get vaccinated and states continue to re-open, businesses are still having trouble filling the spots.

Career Engineer Francina Harrison told 13News Now it's a different scenario since the pandemic started. Remote work kicked in as COVID protocols took over. 

But that can't last forever for many companies and some people are afraid to go back.

"Some still wear masks, some who don't. Some companies don't have an on-point policy about how to work now so there are some folks who are still checking out because they are still fearful," said Harrison. 

The hospitality industry has really been hit hard. Pelon's Baja Grill owner John Muscara said he was forced to cut hours at all three of his Hampton Roads locations because the applicant pool is so slim. 

“We will get several dozens of applications every week,” Muscara said. “When we try to call and schedule interviews, no one shows up.” 

Harrison says shutdowns and furloughs gave some workers time to perfect their skills or learn new ones.

"And they've gone to a company now where they've gotten out of direct customer service and maybe they're in a call center maybe now they're doing something else where they've learned these technology skills... you know, Zooming and everything else," Harrison explained. "They've now found the office environment where they have a better quality of life not working nights and weekends."

Harrison said the hot jobs now are all things science and technology and anything that stayed open and thrived during the pandemic. 

"The pharmacies, healthcare, things of that nature," Harrison said. "They were essential and able to sustain and maintain."

Harrison suggests using digital sources to find the best job openings.

"LinkedIn. Those career professions, entrepreneurs, other professionals," Harrison said, "If you're not on LinkedIn, you're linked out, but Google is also your best friend." 

You can always check out your local library, community college and adult education programs for computer skills classes, professional development and training.