AUSTIN (KXAN) — “I pretty much depend on the bus,” said Aubrey Donte Smith.
The 43-year-old broke his neck nine months ago, becoming paralyzed. The bus is his only means of transportation.
“To the hospital, to the doctor’s office, to appointments,” Smith said.
To keep serving customers like Smith, Capital Metro announced Tuesday it’s looking for more drivers and mechanics, offering up to a $3,500 signing bonus.
The agency says it’s trying to get back to its pre-pandemic staffing levels, saying it “has recorded impacts to its service due to a need for more operators and mechanics.”
Birds Barbershop is doubling its signing bonus to $1,000 for a stylist or barber, as well as to employees who refer candidates. The offer runs now through September.
“While the current labor drought is unprecedented, we have confidence it’s temporary,” cofounder Jayson Rapaport wrote to KXAN.
Some nursing jobs are offering $10,000 to $15,000.
“Unfortunately we’ve run into high demand for everybody wanting to get back to work or needing people to get back to work, so it’s been a little bit of a challenge trying to get folks to come in,” said Vijay Patel, CEO of Humble Origins Management.
Patel owns and manages several hotels in Austin. He’s offering between a $50 and $200 signing bonus, depending on the job — something he’s never done.
“We really didn’t have that kind of need before,” he said.
Patel had about 210 employees before the pandemic, which got as low as 65 at the lowest point.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce reports there were 4,900 job posts with signing bonuses in June. That’s compared to just 870 postings last June.
In a report released Tuesday, Indeed says there’s an increase across the country in job postings offering hiring incentives.
Last July, they were at 2%. This July, they’ve doubled to more than 4%. Indeed says much of that increase has come just in the last few months.
Patel has bounced back to being about 80% staffed.
He’s hopeful he’ll see more potential workers as people come back from summer vacation and put their kids back in school.
“We’re hopeful that come September, when Labor Day has come and passed, that the labor supply market will increase,” Patel said, which means his signing bonuses won’t last much longer.