New Strategies for Finding A High-Powered Staff

The very thing that has strengthened the jewelry business—a robust economy—has created perhaps the industry’s most pressing problem: a persistent shortage of qualified employees. Nearly half (49.4%) of the retail jewelers responding to a recent JCK survey said 1999 has been the most difficult year ever for finding sales associates. Another 40% said ’99 is about as difficult as other years, and only 10.5% said they didn’t have a problem with recruiting. It’s not surprising that staffing is such a challenge: U.S. unemployment reached a 29-year low of 4.2% this spring. And the shortage may worsen. Ken Goldstein, an economist with the Conference Board, a private research group in New York, predicts that the unemployment rate could fall to 3.8% before year-end. Our survey showed many jewelers already adhering to tried-and-true techniques for finding workers. Personal referra

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