As America continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a prominent message coming from all corners of American industry: “We’re Hiring!”
At the start of August, the Labor Department reported a new high of 9.2 million job openings, breaking a record that dates to 2000. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that the number of available jobs nearly matched the number of unemployed Americans actively seeking jobs in August.
Count Union Pacific among those American companies actively hiring as our economy continues to improve. A quick glance at Union Pacific’s hiring website – up.jobs – shows more than 50 job openings systemwide, with even more openings anticipated in the coming months.
Adding to our hiring challenge is a commitment we’ve made to our employees, communities and business partners: We will improve our workplace diversity. By 2030, UP has committed to increase representation of women in our workforce to 11%, doubling our current population; and we have a goal of growing our minority workforce to 40%.
With the abundance of job openings, finding talent has never been more competitive or sometimes difficult. Other industries, like entertainment, trucking, education, medical and construction, also are experiencing similar challenges. Finding talent has been hard but especially when it comes to attracting more women to our company. Labor statistics indicate female workers have lost jobs at a higher rate than their male counterparts during the pandemic and many women have determined not to return to the workforce all together.
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As a result, employers have begun to get creative, offering signing bonuses, increasing hourly wages, relaxing background requirements and even paying people to apply for openings.
This is something Union Pacific and our talent acquisition leadership team quickly saw and have been tracking very closely since. We’ve included several working groups across the company to focus on many different issues that all ultimately lead back to making our work environment one that attracts many candidates from diverse families, backgrounds and experiences.
Many things we’ve done include determining ways to better attract the female workforce specifically through various advertising messages. Showcasing that our railroad offers many of the same job basics that other companies offer their female employees, such as 24-hour field daycare, lactation resources and services like Milk Stork. Additionally, we’ve cultivated relationships within our local communities and have made some significant strides in the last few years.
Finally, Union Pacific has put an incentive program in place to give current transportation employees an opportunity to relocate to some of the areas in need of workers. We recognize that by offering a fresh start in a new location ensures we do our part to retain the great employees we already have within our company. The program has been a huge success and will soon be rolled out to the other crafts at Union Pacific.
While finding the right talent has never been more challenging, we still have an advantage over our competitors – as it has for more than 150 years, Union Pacific continues to offer a winning combination of competitive salary, benefits and career opportunities that no other company can match.