Many businesses right now are having trouble finding employees – for a variety of reasons.
Sunriver Resort had a solution – just pay people more.
And it appears to be working.
Two days after a job fair, where Sunriver resort offered a staggering $25 an hour for housekeepers, the resort says they are now on pace to fill all positions they need for the summer.
A bold, but necessary strategy that paid off, said Damon Runberg, a regional economist with the Oregon Employment Department.
“Sunriver’s response was well, we will just offer higher wages and see if it makes it less difficult to find workers and it seems like the answer is yes in fact it was easier for them to find workers and address that labor shortage,” Runberg said.
Runberg says there is a record number of job openings in Central Oregon.
“It is likely going to make it so that other accommodations, other resorts are going to have to compete with the wage Sunriver set,” added Runberg.
Eagle Crest Resort officials say they aren’t competing with Sunriver as they are two different resorts in two different towns.
The resort did have trouble hiring employees, but after a $2 wage hike and a focus on younger workers, it’s now filling the positions they need.
“It definitely does increase the competition, increasing that bar that other businesses are going to have to meet,” said Runberg.
Vacasa Vacation Rentals told me it increased housekeeping wages to $25 an hour the day after Sunriver Resort did.
Some business owners near Sunriver Resort say they don’t see it as competition.
“I think it is a great idea to raise wages, for people who work hard they deserve it and for people who work in this time, they really deserve it,” said Owner of Sunriver Rocks at the Sunriver Village Sean Meehan.
Meehan raised wages in his own store just last week.
“If other places are raising their wages then we should too,” added Meehan. “We want employees that are worth what we are paying them.”
Taylor Hare, one of Meehan’s employees, says she was not enticed to leave her current job to make more money at Sunriver Resort.
“Not even a little bit because I love my job so much,” said Hare. “I love the people that I interact with because we have a very specific customer base that come in and I like working with people, I don’t think I could work alone cleaning all day.”
I talked to several other businesses near the Sunriver resort that said the resort’s rise in wages is going to impact being able to hire employees for their own business.