BY COREY LEWIS – FOUNDER, OWNER AND PRESIDENT, CAPE FEAR JOBS
The numbers and messages being shared recently will tell you that life is good for jobs and job growth here in the region. Individuals will tell you that there is a talent gap and will admit to an imaginary “talent cliff” that will soon render the hopelessness of filling jobs across the area. My company Cape Fear Jobs and I will tell you that in our research…what you are hearing, is all very wrong.
Look up the word, “middle,” in your thesaurus and what do you find? Words like intermediate, average, mainstream and median.
Look up the definition in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and you will read, “Being at neither extreme” nor “equally distant from the extremes.”
Through calls to our office, emails to me personally and to the company inbox, and messages to us on social media, Cape Fear Jobs gets an average of 100 inquiries per month, all with one request – Can you help me find a job? And 75 percent of these individuals are in the $40,000 to $80,000 salary range that I refer to as “The Middle.” But they are far from intermediate or average.
Why “The Middle” you ask?
Because I see these often intermediate-level employees a bit like the middle child of a family (for my generation, the Jan and Peter Brady’s). They are the ones who get lost in the shuffle. They are, in most cases, ignored and passed on for just about every job. Yet, they are the most qualified talent we have in our community.
In this struggling job market, there is a list of “Lucky 7” workers:
- Hospitality, quick turnaround college kids that can be paid for cheap labor
- Entry level sales for full commission positions
- Healthcare workers for non-trained home healthcare opportunities
- Untrained “semi-professional” positions with a 100-percent turnover
- Tech and IT Jobs where a warm body is needed, a high skill level required (and a low salary to match)
- Start-up, entrepreneurs who “want to grow” with a company but may not get paid well
- Top-level executives with industry-specific training
The Middle is not included in this group. Yet those in The Middle have more professional qualities, skills and experience than any of the seven descriptors above. They are drawn here to an overabundance of homes and way of life, but it is a lifestyle in which The Middle already exists and has trouble finding qualifiable, sustainable employment.
The Middle is a community that runs our economy, is counted on to shop, eat, play and thrive in the same community that has failed, and continues to fail them professionally and fails them to be able to financially sustain the lives that our leaders created for them.
So, what do we do for them, for The Middle? How can we help the ones we have asked so much from?
My answer is simple, and all it takes is for businesses to have an open mind and really look at the talent in our community. Take a close look at transferrable skills and don’t concentrate on candidates being “overqualified.” Look at the culture of your company and what The Middle can offer to you in the long term and look at the experience level they can bring to the younger generation of employees that will be the future of growth and expansion of your organization.
And consider this – according to our research, as well as our requests, calls and emails, The Middle is the number-one talent community in our region. They are the most qualified and determined, the most abundant and growing talent community in the entire Cape Fear Region.
So, in my professional opinion, it’s simple – if you are looking for talent (I don’t care about the industry or career level), look to The Middle and look for them through Cape Fear Jobs. Because as fast as they get here, the more depth they add to talent pool at Cape Fear Jobs.
Corey Lewis has more than 20 years of management, business development and project management experience across the retail, construction and staffing verticals. Entering into the recruiting industry in 2007 as an Executive Recruiter, Lewis spent the next seven years honing his recruiting skills and leading a local agency in developing the manufacturing sector of the company. With the support of his wife, Corey started his own boutique firm, Alliance Career Group based in Wilmington, while designing the basis for the company that would come to be known as Cape Fear Jobs. Corey found his passion for helping a struggling jobs economy in the Cape Fear Region and in 2016, Cape Fear Jobs was born. Visit the Cape Fear Jobs website or call (910) 782-2142.