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Does the Drought Situation in California Affect the Staffing Industry?

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You might answer that question with “Yes, most definitely in California.” But does it reach any further than that? According to ABC News, California’s agriculture industry generates approximately 37.5 billion dollars a year. California produces more than 400 crops (more than any other state); California’s top 4 agricultural exports in 2013 were: processed fruits and nuts, fresh fruit, processed vegetables, and dairy products. So what does that mean other than you may not be able to find an almonds, walnuts, pistachios, broccoli, strawberries, grapes, tomatoes or lettuce in vast supply this year?

A UC Davis study states that the drought is costing California around 14,500 seasonal and full-time jobs this year alone and they are seeing a ripple effect on local economies. But let’s think for a minute about how that might ripple into other areas.

The rest of the U.S. relies heavily, if not solely on California for these products. There are many other jobs outside of California’s direct agricultural industry that are connected with these goods that will be affected. Packers, shippers, warehouse storage facilities, and grocery stores –just to name a few. Several other states that are directly impacted by the drought as well may soon have similar water restrictions (such as Washington and Oregon) and their industries are sure to be affected as well.

How many who are living and working in California now will remain if drought situations causing restrictions like this become a mainstay. You may even find high-end tech talent looking to leave California for greener pastures causing additional huge gaps in those areas in that market.
So how can the Staffing and Recruiting Industry possibly respond in a positive manner? A little creativity may go a long way.

  • A new source of talent?
    Those who are willing to educate workers about transferring skill sets may be more inclined to fill available temp positions with qualified, willing, and now available workers. Attending job fairs to find and place these willing job seekers might be a sure path to filling available job openings immediately.
  • Improve communications to strengthen your talent pipeline.
    Getting the word out via social media and blogging will most likely play a huge role, and those who are set up to communicate in this manner will most likely gain a significant edge. Glassdoor reported that almost 90% of job seekers say they plan on using their mobile device for some job searching in 2015. So having a mobile-friendly website and an up-to-date job board will help people find you and the positions you are looking to fill. 
  • New staffing opportunities?
    An article in our local newspaper today discussed the potential growth of desalinization plants. As these plants are built and come online, demand will increase for engineers, scientists, operations personnel and support staff. This may be your time to become an expert in this field.
  • Get into the remote talent business.
    If the drought leads to increased unemployment, look for creative ways to put displaced people to work. For example, develop a talent pool of designers, writers or administrative assistants, and use your talent pool to get into the online staffing business offering project and/or hourly work to employers in markets where those skills are scarce.

We may not know the full impact of this drought upon the U.S. job market and the economy right away, but those who have the tools ready to respond will be able to help fill in the gaps. If you need help with your marketing strategy, a mobile-friendly website (so job seekers can find you), social media marketing advice or a good solid job board, contact Haley Marketing today.

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