Salt Lake City companies offer incentives to attract new employees

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 19:45:31-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Several companies are offering up incentives to stay competitive in Utah’s job market.

The service industry has been hit particularly hard by staff shortages, just ask Hoang Nguyen. She is managing partner of the Sapa Investment Group which owns 6 restaurants and two bakeries.

“We could hire for probably 25 positions tomorrow,” she said.

Despite offering cash signing bonuses, raising wages and creating an employee referral program, it is still a struggle to fill open positions, Nguyen said.

“We have been doing restaurants in the valley for over 20 years now and this is the first time it has been this dire to find people to work,” she said.

Many others in the service industry have had to get creative. Sapa Investment Group even hosted a job fair and paid for advertising to help with the search for employees. Only one person attended the job fair, Nguyen said.

“Where did everyone go, where are all the workers? That is still the million-dollar question that I don’t know what the answer is,” she said.

A new dining and entertainment space opening in Sept. at The Gateway, Flanker Kitchen + Sporting Club, is hosting a job fair Wednesday and Thursday at The Depot in hopes of finding about 60 new employees, Matthew Minichino, Carver Road Hospitality Vice President of Operations, said.

“We are literally hiring for all positions from back of house and front of house. We are hiring salary management positions on the front of house and back of house as well., we are offering competitive pay and a really attractive benefits package as well,” he said.

A job fair will hopefully help not only encourage people to apply to work at Flanker Kitchen + Sporting Club, but also be a way to make a splash in the community, Minichino said.

The need to be competitive when it comes to finding employees is not just impacting the hospitality industry. Recursion, a bio-tech company based at The Gateway in downtown Salt Lake City, is looking to hire about 100 new employees, the President and COO said. Recursion recently leased an addition 100 thousand square feet of laboratory space at The Gateway as the company is expanding.

“We recruit people across the life sciences, biotechnology, technology industries and right now those industries are booming,” Tina Larson said.

One of the ways the company is attracting new employees is by offering on-site childcare. The new center is run by Bright Horizon.

“We want to make sure that they have access to convenient affordable childcare right here, we are actually right outside the doors of our recursion headquarters,” Larson said.

The childcare is deeply subsidized for employees, which helps solve many employees’ issues of finding affordable childcare.

“It is a competitive advantage to us that so few employers are providing these childcare options,” Larson said.

Less than 10 percent of U.S. companies offer childcare benefits, according to a recent survey.

"To say that I think the childcare situation in the U.S. is a problem is an understatement. It is one of the greatest barriers in the pursuit of an equal and equitable society. My belief, and Recursion's belief, is that employers have a responsibility to be part of the solution," Recursion Chief People Officer, Heather Kirkby, said.