In a growth mode, a St. Petersburg-based credit union service organization is regularly trying to fill around 100 openings locally or remotely. And a Manhattan-based pharmaceutical company is hiring steadily to support its new Tampa office.
As the Tampa Bay area job market continues to recover from COVID-19, the labor force has reached higher levels than before the outbreak.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity data released in July shows there were 1,644,177 people in the workforce in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area, according to preliminary data for June. That’s up from 1,587,471 in February 2020, 1,530,690 in June 2020 and 1,556,099 in June 2019.
The data is not seasonally adjusted.
Unemployment is at 5.2 percent, down from 10.5 percent in 2020 and up from 3.5 percent in 2019, the state data shows.
“It’s a pretty good indicator that things are recovering. I don’t know it’s saying we’re all Dr. Michael Snipes, economics instructor at USF
the way back,” says Dr. Michael Snipes, a University of South Florida economics instructor at the Sarasota-Manatee campus. “We’re going to have to wait to see what happens in the next couple of weeks.”
He says the numbers can reflect how they’re calculated: Some who were out of work in 2020 may not have been included in the workforce.
“The people who were out of work in 2020, now they’re going back into the labor force looking for jobs,” Dr. Snipes says.
A lot of jobs now are in the hospitality sector, which was hard hit in 2020, while other careers which required more education were “shielded somewhat,” he notes.
Things are easing a bit for recruiters at Payment Systems for Credit Unions, but “it still is very difficult,” says Doug Kramer, talent acquisition manager for PSCU.
“The recruiters have to talk to a lot more candidates to get a hire than they normally would,” he says. “We have a lot of jobs. I know a lot of other companies are having the same struggles we are.”
Worker sentiment has shifted too.
“A lot of people have done a lot of reflection [about retirement, roles, and commutes] during COVID,” says Laura Sehres, PSCU’s VP, Talent Acquisition and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “There are a lot of variables that are coming into play.”
Here’s a closer look at job opportunities at PSCU and Pfizer.
PSCU hiring to meet growing demand for services
Hiring is up 99 percent for jobs with training classes, and up 57 percent for other positions, Sehres says. That’s compared to last year.
A large number of those some 100 available jobs are in credit card/member services and fraud detection for members. Part of the increase may be demand from smaller companies outsourcing fraud detection.
“We’re ramping up our fraud detection services and our ability to detect credit card and debit card fraud,” Sehres says.
Reopening companies have also fueled demand for their services.
“Part of the increase in workload has to do with all the reopenings. All the money that wasn’t spent when people were on lockdown, all those additional debit card transactions, the tourism here in Florida,” Kramer says. “It’s never slowed down after spring break. Everybody’s coming to Florida this year.”
Call center positions in card and member services undergo a six-week training program, so they work on-site for six to eight weeks and then at home.
“Right now the fraud side is remote pretty much 100 percent,” he says.
The company has opportunities for people with various levels of education and experience, starting with a high school/GED, “a great customer attitude” and “positive focus,” according to Pasqualina Sparks, lead recruiting specialist for PSCU.
“We are founded on the credit union philosophy of people helping people,” Sehres explains, so they are looking for people who “lead with empathy” and have a “service orientation.”
She says the company is “definitely competitive” on pay and offers “extremely competitive benefits.”
Among its recent job listings are corporate communications specialist, remote talent acquisition coordinator, corporate attorney, senior billing analyst, and remote Spanish bilingual inbound customer service representative.
Apply online for jobs at PSCU
Pfizer planning to grow its staff
Pfizer opened its new office at Heights Union East, 2002 North Tampa St., on March 1, and had about 60 open positions as of last week. The number can change daily as it conducts interviews and hires.
“We are hiring entry-level to experienced professionals across several functions Brian Martin, VP and Tampa Site lead for Pfizer
including Finance, Digital, HR Services, Sourcing and Project Management, and we offer competitive pay and generous benefits,” says Brian Martin, Pfizer’s Vice President and Tampa Site Lead.
“The requirements for roles vary based on the function, but we are looking to build a community of diverse, highly skilled, multi-lingual talents,” he says.
As the company is operating under COVID guidelines, the Tampa location is only able to accommodate a limited staff. New hires will work remotely initially, then partly on-site and partly at home. By early September, company officials anticipate a more regular return to the worksite.
“Pfizer is taking a cautious, phased approach in adherence to U.S., state, and local policy and guidance,” Martin notes.
Pfizer already has hired 78 for the Tampa team.
“We plan to grow to 500 colleagues in Tampa over the next number of years. Pfizer is committed to the Tampa Bay Area and will continue to evaluate opportunities to grow our presence as a strategic site for the company,” he adds.
Tampa was chosen for the new office after a thorough evaluation revealed Tampa’s “large and diverse talent pool, a precedent of similar life sciences operations, and an attractive quality of life,” Martin says.
The functions of the Tampa site will be evolving, he adds.
Interested parties can learn more and apply online at Pfizer Careers