Florida worker disproves labour shortage complaints by applying for 60 entry-level jobs and getting one interview

·3 min read
Joey Holz pushes back on myth that people no longer want to work (Schooner Trash/YouTube)
Joey Holz pushes back on myth that people no longer want to work (Schooner Trash/YouTube)

A Florida worker has revealed he applied for 60 entry-level jobs in one month and got just one interview, despite widespread complaints of a labour shortage from business owners.

Joey Holz, who has experience working in the food service industry, applied for two jobs every day from 1 September 1 to 30 September in the local Fort Myers and Lee County area.

Of the 60 roles he applied for, Holz said he received just 16 email responses, spoke to four of these companies by phone and had only one interview.

Holz wrote in a now-viral Facebook post that he decided to embark on the 30-day experiment after hearing growing complaints from local business owners that they were struggling to fill vacant positions because people don’t want to work.

The 37-year-old said he specifically targeted companies that had been vocal about government stimulus money luring people away from seeking employment.

Holz said his research showed this complaint to be little more than a myth.

“Are these places hiring? That’s what their internet ad said. Are they desperate for HELP? Yes, according to their loud lamentations on Facebook, but so far 1 interview (where the advertised hours and pay were misrepresented) after 58 applications says y’all aren’t desperate for workers, you just miss your slaves...” he wrote in a 29 September Facebook post.

Holz said he struggled to believe that people were simply choosing not to work because of the Covid-related financial assistance from the state and federal government.

Enhanced unemployment benefits, which gave up to $300 extra a week to people who lost their jobs during the pandemic, ended back on Labor Day.

Florida – along with 26 states – axed its participation in the federal unemployment program even earlier, after Governor Ron DeSantis decided to cut off the benefits in June.

“If this extra money that everyone’s supposedly living off of stopped in June and it’s now September, obviously, that’s not what’s stopping them,” he told Business Insider.

Holz decided to try to get to the bottom of the matter and first sent off job applications for two restaurants on 1 September.

He then continued to send two applications per day to other companies advertising vacancies.

Holz told Insider he didn’t apply for any roles that he wasn’t qualified for and none that were offering over $12 an hour.

“I didn’t apply for anything that required a degree. I didn’t apply for anything that said must have six months experience in this thing,” he said.

Despite targeting companies he said were most critical about the government unemployment benefits and the lack of applicants they argued they were causing.

As well as the radio silence from most companies he applied to, even the solitary interview he went on wasn’t what it seemed, he said.

The job advert had been for a full-time job paying $10 an hour for a construction company.

Holz said he was told at the interview that he would be paid Florida’s minimum wage of $8.65 to start for 20 hours a week.

Holz said he believes his “is a familiar story to many” as he accused companies of treating staff like “slaves”.

Rather than a shortage of people willing to work, many workers say they are instead refusing to accept jobs that pay low wages and offer no benefits to staff.

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