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Businesses struggle to fill entry level positions amid ongoing workers shortage

United Airlines Green Bay Airport
Posted at 4:08 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 19:41:18-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Companies both big and small are struggling to fill open positions amid the ongoing workers shortage. According to the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, 51 percent of small business owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a 48-year record high for the third consecutive month.

But it isn't just small businesses who are struggling. United Ground Express, a subsidiary of United Airlines, is looking to fill about 20 positions at the Green Bay Austin Straubel Airport. The airline held a hiring event at the airport Wednesday.

"We're trying to hire up some crossed-utilized agents here at the airport," said Midwest regional recruiter Nicholas Perales. "It's our standard front line position handling the customer service work at the front counter and the gates and also the ramp work out servicing the aircraft."


It's an entry level position that's a first entry into the airline industry for many, but it's vital to the airline's operations, especially as demand for flights has begun to increase again since the start of the pandemic.

"Flying is increasing again," said general manager Kandace Degree. "We were down quite a few flights for a long time during the pandemic but now they seem to be picking up and passenger loads are increasing again."

Perales says United Grounds Express has tried several new recruiting methods in an effort to find new hires.

"Social media blitzes, releasing press releases to local areas, doing more physical events like hiring events, anything we can do," Perales said. "We're open to trying to look at any and all opportunities."

But they’re not the only ones trying new recruitment methods. Noah Williams, an economics professor at UW-Madison, says it’s become a common trend among businesses due to the workforce shortage.

“They’re definitely raising compensation, many of them are having starting bonuses or other inducements. Some were actually even paying people just to show up for job interviews," Williams said.

He says it’s a problem that's even more difficult for small businesses with fewer resources.

“They’re playing more specifically in a local market they can’t draw from larger statewide or national market," Williams said.

Williams says finding new incentives and new ways to recruit will likely become the new norm with no end to the workers shortage in sight.

“There was a lot of hope that with the fall and kids going back to school that hiring would pick up but it looks like so far that hasn’t been the case,” Williams said.

Applicants interested in applying to United Ground Express can apply online or email