We appreciate it when you contact us about interesting stories unfolding in the Lake Travis area, and this one definitely fits the bill. Perhaps the bill you were waiting on for 20 minutes with cold queso on your table …
We’ve heard rumblings of poor service in some of our local establishments and we’re wondering if you’ve heard it too?
People who work in the service industry in the Lake Travis area are certainly skilled and friendly, but there seems to be a shortage of them.
Wait staff have too many tables, bartenders have too many drink orders, and some of our favorite go-to pizza places can’t deliver quickly because they don’t have enough help in the kitchen.
We know Lake Travis is amazing, which is why so many businesses want to be here. New growth attracts new residents and new residents bolster new business. It’s a cycle that makes sense.
Is our community in an awkward situation where new businesses have to sacrifice the customer experience because they can’t find enough people to adequately staff open positions? Positions that are necessary to run the business.
In a recent survey conducted by the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce, 61% of respondents said they are having trouble hiring employees.
Let’s take a quick glance at local demographics to get a better understanding of why this could be happening.
If you look at Lakeway, our population is around 11,331. And out of that number 1,190 people are between the ages of 18-34. Depending on which report you read, the median age in this area is 44-46.
Based on a recent US Census Bureau, there are 330 homes and non-family homes owned/rented by people age 15-34, versus 2,497 homes owned/rented by people age 35-59. Could this be the root of our problem?
Now let’s use Oaks at Lakeway as an example. We already know H-E-B needs 320 employees to run the new store. High 5 has stated they will be hiring 130 employees. And then there are the rest of the shops, restaurants and businesses that will also be tenants there.
For the sake of this equation, let’s guesstimate the total number of employees needed to operate Oaks at Lakeway to be 600 people, which is probably a low number. That means 50% of Lakeway’s population of people between the ages of 15-34 would need to be employed there to run it efficiently.
We love these companies for bringing job opportunities to the Lake Travis community, but are there enough people living here to fill them?
When we looked at the number of jobs posted on the Hill Country Galleria website, there are more than 42 job openings, 12 of which are at Sonesta Hotel Bee Cave. Plus, we noticed Sonesta Hotel mentions that a vanpool is available from designated areas in town.
We’ve also heard that at least one restaurant in the area sends a van into Austin to pick up its employees and drive them into the Lake Travis area.
The more we explore this topic, the more we’re convinced there is a growing shortage of skilled employees in the immediate area.
On Wednesday, October 28, the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce is hosting an event at Fore about this exact topic. The event is called: Now Hiring! – Having Difficulty Hiring Employees? where local business owners and Movability Austin, a transportation management association, will discuss this challenge and explore possible solutions.
One of our roles here at Lake Travis Lifestyle is to discuss happenings and issues that are important to our community. Some of these happenings and issues can become touchy topics. We always welcome your feedback and insight — just remember — it must be expressed in a professional and respectful way.
Post image via Creative Commons, Alachua County on Flickr.