Back to Work: Human Resource & Employment Issues

May 1, 2016

Gilda Radner’s comic creation, Roseanne Roseannadanna, pretty much summed up the situation of Nevada’s employers: “It’s always something.”

The state’s economic recovery makes good workers harder to find, and top employees are beginning to hear the siren song of recruiters who want to woo them away. That’s putting upward pressure on wages just when employers are getting the yips about the future of the national economy.

A couple of court cases inject additional uncertainty, and federal regulators are considering rule changes that could affect the way that many exempt salaried workers are paid.

And if all this wasn’t enough, employers and their human resources departments face the challenge of developing policies to address the use of medical marijuana by some employees.

The state’s unemployment rate has fallen below 6 percent for the first time since the recession, and researchers at the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) say employers are soaking up available workers quickly. The Las Vegas economy added nearly 23,000 jobs in the past year. The Reno-Sparks area added more than 6,000 jobs.

In the Las Vegas area, the recent arrival of two new casinos — SLS Las Vegas and The Cromwell — tightens the market for senior and mid-level executives in the hospitality sector.

“This is like 2005 or 2006,” said Ann Simmons Nicholson, owner of The Simmons Group, a Las Vegas-based human relations and organizational development firm. “Who’s willing to move? What’s it going to take to get them to move?”

In Northern Nevada, the market for construction workers seemingly got tight overnight as work began on Tesla’s gigafactory at the same time that numerous other industrial and distribution facilities began rising out of the ground, said Don Soderberg, director of DETR.

Statewide, a burst of hiring by new and expanding technology firms appears to be just over the horizon, Soderberg said.

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