The United States has a record 10.9 million jobs available according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – and despite the fact that 8.4 million Americans are out of work, employers are struggling to fill those vacancies.
Wayne State is no exception. The university has more than 200 job openings and pressing needs in several areas, including:
- Academic administration and instruction
- Research assistants
- Maintenance (groundskeepers, custodians, engineers, maintenance tradespersons)
- HR, payroll, e-learning specialists, finance
For example, Facilities Planning & Management (FP&M) is down a dozen custodians, and 16 of 24 grounds positions are vacant.
“Campus doesn’t look as beautiful as it should because we just don’t have the people to do the work,” said Rob Davenport, associate vice president for FP&M. “The employees we have are doing the best they can, but I’m worried about winter. Grounds moves snow. If we can’t fill these openings, we’re going to have to subcontract it out, and I’m trying desperately not to do that.”
To incentivize prospective employees, FP&M is now offering $500 sign-on bonuses, and $500 bonuses to Wayne State employees who refer a candidate that is hired and stays on the job for six months.
Despite the challenge in filling positions, the university does have advantages over other potential employers. Its fringe benefits package is among the best around. People tend to focus on a job’s hourly wage or salary, but benefits account for around a third of total compensation. At Wayne State that includes:
- Medical (five plan options, low deductibles and co-pays)
- Dental and vision
- Retirement savings (two-to-one match up to 10% for employees 26 and older)
- Tuition assistance (free tuition for employees, 50% off for dependents)
- Partner discounts
- Life insurance, long-term disability, flexible spending accounts and more
But beyond total compensation, many employees are drawn to Wayne State – and end up staying – because of its mission.
“In higher education — and particularly at Wayne State — there is a professional fulfillment that turns into a love for Wayne State that is very difficult to put into words,” said Carolyn Hafner, associate vice president and chief human resources officer. “For me and many others, we’ve chosen to stay because here in the heart of the city of Detroit our work is mission driven. People love the fact that they’re able to do something positive that has a profound impact on this city and our students.”
Human Resources is planning several targeted job fairs in the coming weeks, and encourages all employees to let their friends and family know about the many opportunities to join the Wayne State team.