Companies raising pay, sweetening benefits to lure and keep workers

The unemployment rate in Washington state is at 5.1% as of August. In some counties, the rate is even as high as 8%.

However, it’s not necessarily because there aren't any opportunities out there. In many industries, they are desperate for people, so companies are doing everything from raising pay and changing how they recruit.

Dick's Drive-In is raising its minimum wage from $18 to $19 an hour. It will be even higher for workers at their Queen Anne and Capitol Hill locations. 

The $20 an hour wage is getting people talking.

"It’s pretty impressive," Allan Cosallo said. He said $20 an hour is more than what he made at his very first corporate job.

"Our employees can only work short-staffed shifts for so long and they’ve been doing it for so long," Dick's President Jasmine Donovan said.

The worker shortage is causing Dick’s to cut back their hours, meaning there is no late-night food at some of the locations.

"We’ve had 10:30 to 2 a.m. hour for our entire existence, so it really is a big deal for us to adjust those hours," Donovan said.

Donovan says they are improving their benefits to keep hires on, including a scholarship and child care benefit for workers.

Over in Bellevue, companies are pitching for workers. 

"People are getting creative on how to incentivize people to not only start, but to stay in their jobs," said Alesha Shemwell, the Bellevue Collection Director of Retail.

The Bellevue Collection consists of hotels, restaurants and retail in downtown Bellevue. They are holding a job fair on Thursday, Sept. 23 and Sept. 28.

"The good news is our sales and traffic is increasing to the point that there is a need for more people," Shemwell said.

They are not alone, either. Companies like FedEx and Macy’s are also recruiting workers as the holiday season approaches. CVS announcing they are in need of 25,000 more employees across the country.

Bellevue Collection’s job fair on Thursday is for those recruiting in the hospitality industry. The event is from 4-7 p.m. at Forum Social House at Lincoln Square North in Bellevue.

The event on the 28th will focus on retailers and they are recruiting from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Bellevue Square, Level 2 near Uniqlo and Zara.

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