Within three years, one-third of the workforce at Manatee County Government will be retiring.
That means an estimated 500 county workers not only will begin collecting their retirement checks, but also will be taking all of their institutional knowledge with them.
With an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent in November in Manatee County, and an opportunity for skilled workers to make more money in the private sector, county managers will be challenged to find enough new hires to keep the wheels of government turning.
“We are not alone in this,” said Joe Spain, talent acquisition staff member for Manatee County Government.
Other local government agencies are challenged as well, and so are local businesses, many of whom have hiring signs up.
“The baby boomers are walking out the door. The recession is gone. They’ve built their nest eggs back up. The county is growing. The population keeps growing,” Spain said.
With a workforce of about 1,700, the county’s staffing is rapidly returning to pre-Great Recession levels as projects paid by the new half-cent infrastructure sales tax kick in.
At every level, this organization is seeing openings and a shift in leadership.
Joe Spain, talent acquisition officer
“Right now, we are not only facing an employment boom, but a shortage of skilled workers,” Spain said.
In response, the county has adopted the slogan “work that matters,” said Julie Bassett, human resources manager for Manatee County.
“There are lots of opportunities here. The demand for services is growing. We can’t keep up pay wise with the market, but this is important work. You won’t get rich but it is important,” Bassett said.
Among an estimated 525 career opportunities at county government are 911 dispatch, EMS/paramedics, building maintenance, utilities, accounting/finance, transit/traffic, building inspectors, plans examiner, customer service and more.
Though the county might not be able to match private-sector pay, it can offer a pension, tuition reimbursement, student loan forgiveness, health benefits and time off.
“It’s not just a job. It’s a career,” Spain said.
Based on an average new-hire salary of $35,942.40, the county calculates that the total compensation package including retirement, medical insurance and other benefits works out to $58,336.04.
Many of those retiring from county government are in leadership roles, offering an opportunity for new hires to climb the ladder more quickly, he said.
“At every level, this organization is seeing openings and a shift in leadership. That’s why it is a great time to join the county. It’s an exciting time, a challenging time, but there are a lot of opportunities out there,” Spain said.
Those interested in a county job are invited to visit mymanatee.org/jobs, call Spain at 941-748-4501, ext. 3859, or attend a 2018 direct hiring event. Dates have not been set, but last year they attracted 800 job seekers.