Potential Workers Caught In Hiring War

Aug 28, 2017

A company with facilities in Northern Kentucky says there's a hiring war. Radial has warehouse operations in Richwood and Hebron and plans to fill 4,100 positions.

But the retailer, which fills online orders for companies like PetSmart and Shoe Carnival, is having trouble finding enough employees. It competes with Amazon.

Regional Human Resources Manager Geneva Stacy says many of those jobs were seasonal but some are full-time. She says 30-50 people applied for at least 70 full-time positions. So, she says, Radial will keep recruiting.

According to Stacy, "We'd love to see more people come out and show interest in the positions that we have because we have a lot of benefits."

Those benefits include medical insurance, 401K, education reimbursement, and paid time off for full-time employees. Seasonal workers, Stacy says, can look forward to prizes and meals during the holiday rush. She says the company is investigating other incentives.

Janet Harrah is Senior Director for the Center for Economic Analysis and Development at Northern Kentucky University. She says Radial and Amazon both want the same kind of employee. "They're looking for people who are drug-free. They're looking for people who will show up on time, who will show up when they're scheduled. They'll work hard while they're there."

Harrah says employers need to consider what potential workers want, and that goes beyond pay. "If you're a single parent, you have to have a set work schedule in order to arrange child care. You might need to work full time versus part time. You need benefits. What is the location of the job. Can I get to or from work without a car?"

Harrah says companies like Radial and Amazon have to stay profitable while offering benefits and pay that are attractive. "For the entry level job, and that's the vast majority of the type of work that we're talking about, they're not paying a wage that's high enough to make it financially viable for most people to relocate for."

She says it's a balancing act. "The salaries have to be high enough to attract the workers but also have to be low enough for the employers to still make a profit. It's not just unique to Cincinnati. It's happening out across the country."

The Radial announcement came weeks after Amazon held job fairs across the country to hire 50,000 people, with some positions in Hebron.

Making things difficult for both companies to fill positions is the region's unemployment rate. Unemployment figures for July show Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties with some of the lowest jobless numbers statewide. All three are below the state average of 5.3 percent.