As York County industries return to normal, labor shortages ramp up competition

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
A sign advertising for employees is posted outside the Sheetz store at 1484 Carlisle Rd. Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Bill Kalina photo

As York County companies begin to return to a sense of normalcy, they are once again faced with prepandemic challenges — only now worsened by COVID-19.

Employers across all industries are struggling to hire workers, and some competing industry leaders, like Rutter's and Sheetz, have responded with wage increases.

"It's fair to say that no industry is immune to the hyper competition for talent right now," said York County Economic Alliance President and CEO Kevin Schreiber. "It's not surprising to see this hyper competition ramp up again."

Rutter's announced earlier in May that it had raised its minimum wage by $1.50 to $14 an hour.

Sheetz, likewise, announced a wage increase by $2 to $14.50 for team members and $17.50 for supervisors in May.

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Sheetz also is offering employees a summer stimulus program that will further increase their wages by $1 more per hour from Friday until Sept. 23, according to a news release.

Schreiber said that before the pandemic, many competitors in several industries were suffering labor shortages that only worsened when COVID-19 arrived.

"One of the anchors dragging behind them is the ability to get employees quickly," Schreiber said. "I think right now we're just seeing that play out on a really crunched timeline."

A patron exits Old Navy at Manchester Crossroads, passing a sign advertising for employees Monday, May 17, 2021. Bill Kalina photo

As York County slowly moves back toward normal life, companies are moving swiftly to catch up. However, that recovery becomes more difficult if employers can't find the talent to hire, Schreiber said.

Several companies are offering new incentives, such as child care services, transportation or even signing bonuses, to attract workers.

For example, several manufacturing and distribution warehouses along Interstate 83 in York County have started providing employees with Rabbit Transit bus passes, Schreiber said. 

Other companies, including WellSpan Health, are offering wage increases.

WellSpan will increase the hourly minimum wage to $15 starting July 4. The nearly $30 million investment will allow WellSpan to offer a competitive salary and benefits package to employees, according to a news release.

Interested individuals can apply by visiting www.joinwellspan.org/.

 "It's about pure competition for talent right now," Schreiber said.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.