HR reports student worker shortage this year

The Deli at the Village Market is no longer serving supper. Friday, October 7, 2021.
(Photo by: Nicole Sabot)
The Deli at the Village Market is no longer serving supper. Friday, October 7, 2021. (Photo by: Nicole Sabot)

There are currently 1,181 student employees at Southern Adventist University, according to Brenda Flores-Lopez, associate vice president for Human Resources. Compared to last year’s numbers, there are 124 less student workers employed.

Flores-Lopez said there are many vacant positions in Food Services, Landscape Services, Plant Services, the Student Success Center and Disability Support Services. But she emphasized that the issue of unfilled positions is campus-wide and not just in certain departments.

“There are easily over 80 jobs open on campus,” she said. 

Numerous negative effects have stemmed from the vacant positions on campus. One of these is found at the Deli in the Village Market, which has been forced to shut down dinner service this semester due to a shortage of Deli employees. 

Another effect is found in the mail room. The amount of time that it takes for a package to be delivered after it arrives has increased, according to Flores-Lopez. 

Additionally, she said, “We definitely have had to alter our operations a bit in order to adapt to our workforce — sort of a skeletal crew — so reduction in hours.”

“The Disability Support Services is one area that is struggling because they need proctors for students that require that assistance,” Flores-Lopez continued. “So they have had to spread themselves out very, very thin and maybe not have as many appointments available.” 

According to Flores-Lopez, a possible factor for why there are less student workers could be the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additional factors could include whether students are interested in working and their class schedules, which may conflict with various shifts. Other challenges may include students who choose not to stay in jobs they have begun. 

Southern is especially interested in trying to fill positions that are open to students, said Flores-Lopez. Another challenge involves trying to find students who are interested in working in different campus jobs.

Flores-Lopez stressed the need for better advertising to address the problem. 

 “If there is a solution to this, the solution is on us to attract the students,” Flores-Lopez said. “But I would ask and plead for students to help us. If they’re happy in their jobs, they need to bring their friends, and they need to talk about the advantages and their positive experiences.”

Flores-Lopez highlighted the jobs available on campus.

“It’s from the … academic departments to Food Service to the Teaching Materials Center,” she said. “It is everything. So I believe that a student that wants to work and that has a specific job in mind will find it with our vast amount of openings.” 

 Flores-Lopez said students can view the Student Job Board for job openings on campus. The site can be found under the “Campus Life” section of the “Resources” tab on the student profile page. 

Flores-Lopez also expressed thanks for all of Southern’s current student workers. 

“We thank and appreciate all of our student employees [who] have risen to the occasion,” she said, “and [who] have worked during these challenging times.”

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