More than 150 employers were on hand today for this year’s Star-Advertiser Career Expo. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.
An initial surge of more than one hundred job seekers fell to a trickle in the opening minutes of Career Expo 2018. Altres Staffing agency manager, Amy Yamauchi Wong, says Hawai’i’s record low unemployment rate -- 2.1 percent -- makes it difficult to recruit workers, but it’s not all about pay.
“A lot of people are looking for more career growth or maybe even a better commute from wherever they are living or it could be a lot we hear about life-work balance. It’s not all about the money.”
Yamauchi Wong says workers with can-do attitudes are the most sought after by employers. Gary Sheuring agrees. He’s the director of training and development for a car dealership. He wants to hire a dozen sales people but says positive attitudes are not always recognizable.
“It’s hard to tell just by looking at a person. I had one baggage handler, a quiet, young kid and he joined us and ended up being my salesperson of the year, like 7 straight years.
Federal Fire Department Battalion Chief, Kahe’olani Ching, has been with the department for 12 years. She’s looking for applicants who want more than a job.
“This is a career. You do it for the love of it. You do it because you like to help people. You do it for the camaraderie. You do it for that satisfaction.”
And, Devin Thornburg, who grew up in Ewa Beach, says he has firefighter skills from his service with the Air Force.
“I have a lot of certifications for the fire department. Fire1, Fire2, Crash Rescue, Hazmat Technician. Being doing it for about 6 years.”
Roisin Clark is looking for a job before moving to O’ahu to be with family. She’s currently a sales manager in Manchester England but has a long-term goal.
“I’m a sales manager now in the financial sector. But you know, I would really, really want to one day have my own business, probably selling Hawaiian coffee, because I love the stuff.”
Staffing agency manager, Yamauchi Wong, meanwhile, says companies are looking for clerical, technical, medical, and industrial trade workers but positive attitudes are the key.
“There’s not a whole lot of people unemployed and we have a lot of jobs. At least a hundred, if not more.”
According to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, nearly 670-thousand residents are currently employed statewide. In the last year, there was also an increase of more than 2,300 jobs. Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.