Who's hiring: Jobseekers find higher wages, multiple options

If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, the time is ripe to jump into the Tampa Bay Area job market. Wages are up. And opportunities abound across job sectors as more jobseekers slowly return to the market. 

“Employers are looking to hire. If you wait for all the [COVID-related] benefits of the government to be gone, you’re not going to have as many options,” advises Kay Jefferson, director of Business Services for CareerSource Tampa Bay, who notes traffic to their offices is up.

In some cases, employers are hiring fewer workers at higher wages, she notes.
“People are looking for more than $15,” she adds. “That’s as low as they are going.”

At International Data Corporation, they have approached some who didn’t even apply. 

“It was tough. We are super happy with the type of talent we are able to attract,” says Arnie Perez, IDC’s director of sales and hiring manager.

Salaries are about 20-25 percent above the local market rates “to become an attractive option,” he says, and jobs include a “most competitive benefit package.”

Meanwhile, the education sector has begun attracting career transitioners. Some are looking for flexible work at their children’s schools.

“There's been a great exodus from other industries -- applicants want more meaningful careers and Florida's schools are benefiting, because teaching can offer the kind of purposeful work that career changers seek,” says Cheryl Courier, VP and practice leader for Kelly Education’s Southeast Region. “We are also seeing the average age of those who want to teach decrease, possibly as retirees and others concerned about COVID-risk opt out, and there is a younger generation seeking to enter into teaching.”

Kelly Education is looking to hire 1,000 substitutes and other paraprofessional classroom support workers in Hillsborough. The need for paraprofessional classroom support personnel has increased, Courier says.

Hillsborough County Public Schools are hiring some 740 staffers, but there are more than 2,500 applicants for 350 instructional posts, says Craig Horstman, general manager of personnel services. 

Wages start at nearly $47,000 for teachers without experience and top out at more than $68,000.
The biggest need is for non-instructional personnel, most notably bus drivers. There are about 190 vacancies for bus drivers, 80 for custodial workers, and 120 for student nutrition staff. 

The number of applications is “about the same ... maybe a little bit less,” he says. 

Unique job posts in Hillsborough County fell a bit in June to 89,661, down from 92,136 in May and 92,899 in April, according to a CareerSource Job Analytics report. Jefferson says it may be the result of more on-site recruiting.

In Pinellas County, unique postings declined from 33,593 in May to 33,122 in June, according to another CareerSource report.

Here are more details about opportunities in tech sales and education.

IDC opening new office in Tampa

The Needham, MA-based International Data Corp., founded in 1964, has been hiring inside sales executives and scouting for a location for its new office in the Harbour Island/Channel District area or Westshore, Perez says. 

Seven began working remotely last week, and another 25 employees are to be hired by December, Perez says. An additional 70 employees are anticipated in 2022.

He expects the firm to eventually gravitate toward a hybrid, part on-site, at-home arrangement. 

In addition to inside sales executives, the market intelligence and advisory services firm has sales operations and marketing positions, including director of marketing and marketing manager jobs. 

The majority of sales positions are for recent college graduates or those with two to four years’ experience, who are paid a salary and commission. They are seeking those with a sales drive, who strive to help their customers and see them succeed.

“That is really what makes the difference between success and failure in sales,” he explains.

Initially, the new team will be working to build the company’s client base among U.S. startups. By next year, they will be working to expand offerings to that clientele.

IDC became interested in Tampa because of “different factors that have really made Tampa a hot spot,” such as the Buccaneers, Bolts, millennials relocating to the area, area growth, and talent, Perez says.

Hiring is underway for the next school year

As one might expect, the bar to entry as a substitute teacher is lower than for a full-time teacher. It’s a high school diploma, which spells opportunity to career changers. Pay ranges from $70 to $180 a day.

“Substitute teaching is a great way to get your foot in the door to a permanent teaching job, whether you are waiting for a position in a specific school to open up or a certain subject matter,” Courier says.

Teachers in Hillsborough must have a bachelor’s degree and certification, the certification can be achieved through passing a test, Horstman says. Teachers also can be hired and enrolled in an alternative certification program.

Bus driver applicants in Hillsborough must have a clean driving record and a 10th-grade education, Horstman says. If they don’t have a commercial driver’s license, they will participate in a training course after they are hired. Starting pay is $14.57 without experience.

Custodial and student nutrition workers must have a ninth-grade education; pay starts at $10.90 with no experience.

All applicants must pass a criminal background check.

In Pinellas County, there were some 111 openings as of Friday, 61 in certified instructional and 46 in non-instructional support roles.

“We’re actively hiring all year, especially at the end of school year,” says Isabel Mascareñas, public information officer for that district’s Office of Strategic Communications. 

Jobseekers can obtain information and apply here.

Help for the jobseeker

Jobseekers can keep tabs on some of the highest paying jobs across various sectors through the Hot Jobs listing on the CareerSource Tampa Bay website.

The listing was reinstituted in June and features positions paying more than $15 an hour. They try to limit the list to around 20 so it’s not overwhelming and plan to update it twice monthly.

CareerSource also restarted its Professional Talent of Tampa Bay group for college graduates with a bachelor’s or higher and/or those with about five years of management level experience who earned $45,000 plus annually at their last employer. The group typically meets on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. at CareerSource’s office at 4902 Eisenhower Boulevard, Suite 250, but a virtual option is available. Jobseekers can receive information on opportunities, talk about the labor market, receive help updating their resumes, and get their questions answered, she says.

An upcoming job fair has already reached its cap of more than 80 employers, with a wait list in place. The Sen. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) Job Fair is slated from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 28, at Higgins Hall, 5225 N. Himes Ave., Tampa. Attendees are asked to wear a mask and maintain social distancing due to COVID. The fair is free to jobseekers. Visit the CareerSource Tampa Bay website to signup.
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Read more articles by Cheryl Rogers.

Cheryl Rogers is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about careers. An ebook author, she also writes Bible Camp Mystery series that shares her faith. She is publisher of New Christian Books Online Magazine and founder of the Mentor Me Career Network, a free online community, offering career consulting, coaching and career information. Now a wife and mother, Cheryl discovered her love of writing as a child when she became enthralled with Nancy Drew mysteries. She earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Sociology from Loyola University in New Orleans. While working at Loyola's Personnel Office, she discovered her passion for helping others find jobs. A Miami native, Cheryl moved to the Temple Terrace area in 1985 to work for the former Tampa Tribune