Amid pandemic, more workers searching for more fulfilling careers

People reevaluating their work, considering career changes

The worker shortage amid the coronavirus pandemic is, in part, driven by a
The worker shortage amid the coronavirus pandemic is, in part, driven by a

It’s no secret that there has been a nationwide worker shortage amid the pandemic, causing issues for businesses across several industries.

One somewhat surprising reason for the worker shortage: The coronavirus pandemic has caused people to reevaluate their lives. Studies are now showing that many workers are no longer satisfied with just punching a clock and carrying out work that doesn’t feel fulfilling to them.

Formerly the vice president at an advertising agency, Scott Bzdok says when the pandemic hit, he began reevaluating his priorities -- and decided that a corporate job with no direct impact on everyday people wasn’t for him.

“I didn’t think I was actually doing anything that was really important, that really changed anyone’s life, that really impacted anyone’s life,” Bzdok said. “(The pandemic) just motivated me to want to start something I have been postponing for 10 years.”

Related: Metro Detroit schools face support staff shortages as classes begin

Now, working in real estate, the Huntington Woods resident says he was almost immediately able to help people when he switched careers. His story is unique in the sense that Bzdok was able to find a new career right away, but it isn’t unique in the sense that more people want to do work that is more fulfilling.

Troy-based Kelly Services, one of the largest staffing agencies, says they are having problems filling positions for that specific reason.

“So, meaningful work is really important; getting paid the right amount as they look at the right job, the right skill matches,” said Jennifer Knippenberg, vice president and chief recruiting officer at Kelly Services.

The challenge, though, is that in our society, there are necessary jobs that may not necessarily feel fulfilling. So, in order to attract employees, employers at these jobs need to offer additional incentives, like better wages and flexibility.

“(Employers) may even (offer) a lesser wage ... but if you give that flexibility that someone is looking for as well, they are more likely to return to work and select your job,” Knippenberg said.

Related: US hiring slows as delta variant weakens travel and tourism

Knippenberg says that everyone has different priorities, but things like flexibility and wage are often at the top of the list -- and job seekers are going to prioritize positions that meet those needs.

If you’re willing to take a leap -- and have a safety net like Bzdok did -- now may be the right time to reevaluate your career and your future. He says he’s never been as happy as he is now.

“For me, it was, ‘Don’t live your life wishing for tomorrow -- make tomorrow happen today,’” Bzdok said.

Watch the full report in the video above.


Related: Survey: 9 in 10 Michigan restaurants, hotels face staffing shortages


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About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.