800 city jobs open in San Jose as public sector faces hiring woes

The nationwide labor shortage is not just impacting the private sector. Local governments are also having trouble finding workers and face a changing labor landscape.

In San Jose, the city council on Tuesday is expected to extend a pilot program which pays existing city workers a $1,500 bonus if they refer an outside job candidate who eventually gets hired.

The referral bonus is just one thing the city is doing to try to fill nearly 800 open positions.

In all, the City of San Jose has nearly 7,000 positions, but about one in 10 of those is not filled. The current job vacancy rate is about 13%. 

The city’s needs are great from information technology to animal care to building inspections and compliance to public safety and the city can just not find enough qualified candidates.

"In some places labor market shortages got more serious for example in the trades areas," said Kelli Parmley, Assistant Human Resources Director for the city. "And if you think about the City of San Jose, we are a ‘full service’ A-to-Z city, with an airport to a zoo and everything in between."

Parmley said the forces which are impacting private employers are the same ones facing the city.

"People are re-thinking their priorities. So like everywhere else people are examining what they do, whey they do it. Are there better ways for people to spend their employed time vs. their personal time?" Parmley said. 

Since 2013, the city has offered existing employees a $500 referral bonus, but in February of this year, the city bumped that up to $1,500. It's just one of many programs the city is undertaking to try to fill its ranks.

On Tuesday, the city council will be asked to extend the extra bonus incentive program at least through the end of the year.

"How can we inspire current employees who care about what they do who are purpose and mission driving to seek out external to the city to come and apply?" Parmley said. 

Even though the city has 800 open positions, you won’t find that many listed on the city’s website. This is because there is a limit to how many potential employees can be screened and on-boarded at any given time.

The city departments with the greatest need include Parks Recreation and Neighborhood Services, Environmental Services, Transportation, Public Works, and Planning Building and Code Enforcement.

The city says it adds new postings every single day so, if you are looking for a new job, keep checking back.