Job application

Southwest CEO claims job application stapled to Whataburger order


  • Incoming Southwest CEO Robert Jordan said a job application was stapled to his Whataburger bag.
  • This shows how tight the labor market has become, he said during the World Skift Forum.
  • Southwest plans to hire 13,000 new employees by 2022, but is struggling to recruit candidates.

A hiring crisis is hitting businesses across the country, affecting everyone from the new CEO of Southwest Airlines to the staff at his local Whataburger.

Robert Jordan, who will take the helm of Southwest early next year, discussed the country’s labor shortage in an interview at the Skift Global Forum Thursday. In order to fill vacancies, many companies have resorted to new tactics, such as being more direct on the price of labor or enticing workers as young as 14 to apply. Others try something a little more unusual.

Jordan described visiting a Dallas-area Whataburger drive-thru, a Texas-based burger chain. When he was handed his bag of food, he realized that there was something stapled on it: a job application.

“They staple a job application to the bag of food that every person that goes through the drive-thru gets and you’re like, ‘This is what this is about,'” Jordan said. “It has become, to me, kind of a symbol of the job market we live in here – there is so much competition.”

A spokesperson for Whataburger did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on his hiring tactics.

But just like Dallas Whataburger, Southwest struggles to attract candidates, Jordan said. Southwest is hiring 5,000 new employees this fall and 8,000 more in 2022, but applications haven’t been pouring in – while Southwest received about 43 applications per opening, it only receives about 14 so far, he said. -he declares.

“The constraints have always been, can we get planes, can we get facilities, can we get doors,” he said. “I’ve never known a time when the strain is, can we have employees.”

Southwest and Whataburger are not alone in their struggle to find employees. A nationwide job crisis has led to burnout among current employees who have to take on extra work and companies are losing money because they don’t have enough workers to perform standard tasks . While some companies blame the lack of desire to work for the shortage, workers say they don’t need to take low-paying jobs when the market is so competitive.

Economists say there is a combination of issues that led to the shortage, Insider’s Juliana Kaplan reported. A skills gap combined with employers’ reliance on hiring software means workers are screened if they don’t have, say, a four-year degree. And pandemic-induced migration means big cities like New York are having a harder time hiring workers in the service sector.

Moreover, expectations have changed: Workers refuse to settle for low wages – or roles that could put their health and safety at risk.

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