Banking

A fairground in California has its executives working the roller coasters because it’s struggling to hire staff

  • The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is getting its executives to staff attractions and food stands.
  • The amusement park told Reuters it only managed to hire half the staff it needs for the summer.
  • Businesses across the US are being hit by a crippling labor shortage.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An amusement park in Northern California is finding it so hard to recruit staff that it’s getting executives to work shifts on its rides and food stands.

Executives at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk will be working these shifts at least once a week this summer, Karl Rice, its president, told Reuters.

“It’s sort of all hands on deck,” Rice said, adding that he worked two eight-hour shifts a week on attractions.

Rice told Reuters that the park needs around 1,900 workers for the summer season – but it’s only recruited half so far.

Read more: Investment banking’s labor crunch: A junior banker shortage is forcing rainmakers to do grunt work and firms are lowering the bar for new hires

The US is suffering from a severe shortage of workers, and one that the US Chamber of Commerce has called a “national economic emergency” that could hold back the recovery from the pandemic.

The tight labor market is causing some businesses to cut operating hours, slash production, and raise prices, while others have been offering lucrative perks like free higher wages, sign-on bonuses, and even free fitness machines and iPhones to attract new hires.

The Boardwalk reopened in April after being shut for a year during the pandemic. Rice told Reuters that it had started its seasonal hiring months later than usual because of uncertainty about when it could reopen. He added that other local businesses were also scrambling for staff, thereby increasing competition for workers.

Sabra Reyes, the Boardwalk’s human resources director, told Reuters that it was offering $300 bonuses every two weeks to staff who worked at least 60 hours during a two-week period. She said that the policy, which the company introduced in May and is offering until September, led to a flood of applicants – and now the park is struggling to train the new hires fast enough.

“We’ve been hiring at full speed,” Reyes said. “But it was and it’s still a struggle.”

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