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Good Help Harder to Find in Hawai‘i

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Hawai‘i’s unemployment rate remains below three percent. And while that’s good news for the state’s economy, it’s creating a challenge for many businesses that are struggling to find good help. We get more from Pacific Business News editor-in-chief A. Kam Napier.


It doesn’t matter whether the job vacancy is in the boardroom, the kitchen or the sales floor, chances are, a local business is having a hard time finding candidates for it. This week, PBN spoke with business owners and leaders about the efforts they’re taking to hire when nearly everyone who wants a job already has one.


For Art Gladstone, CEO of Straub and Pali Momi hospitals, it took more than year to fill a key chief operating officer position. Local candidates lacked the combination of hospital experience plus operations expertise. John Belew, then COO of Darnall Army Medical Center in Killeen, Texas, found the vacancy through an executive search firm and turned out to be that perfect fit. He joined Straub last month.


But Gladstone notes that positions at all levels in the hospital have been hard to fill. His solution has been to offer internships and training programs for young people as early as high school. He finds that 30 percent of those who participate, when they’re ready to work, want to work for Straub.


Kathy Inkinen, owner of executive search firm Inkinen & Associates says that in times like these, employers need to put out feelers to capture what she calls “passive candidates,” that is, people who weren’t looking for a change until they hear about an unexpected opportunity. Companies are competing now on the corporate culture they can offer and should be using social media such as SnapChat and Facebook to reach passive candidates with a sense it would  be like to come work for them.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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