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South Coast Businesses Boost Worker Incentives Amid Labor Shortage

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Daniel Ackerman
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The manufacturer of Titleist golf balls met with prospective employees at a hiring fair Wednesday in New Bedford.

Businesses are still hunting for employees amid a labor shortage across the South Coast.

In New Bedford Wednesday, the maker of Titleist golf balls held a job fair to help fill nearly 100 openings in its manufacturing facilities. Laurie Sylvia, who does hiring for the company, said consumer demand for Titleist products is soaring, but a lack of workers means the company can barely keep up.

Amid the pandemic, golf has “really taken off,” she said. “My husband and I golf. Every course we golf at, every weekend—absolutely jammed. We literally can’t make enough golf balls.”

Sylvia said the company is offering a $1,500 sign-on bonus for new employees. Such incentives have become commonplace as employers compete for workers.

Ryan Pereira manages sales at Precision Window & Kitchen, a construction supplier and contractor in New Bedford. He’s been trying to expand the seven-employee business for the whole summer — to no avail.

In addition to sign-on bonuses, Pereira said he increased profit-sharing and boosted vacation time for new employees. But he’s still struggled to even get candidates to interview.

Pereira said the company has adapted to the shortage, by shifting more of its business from labor-intensive construction into supplying. “We've got to get creative to find ways to make money for the company so everyone can still benefit.”

Sylvia is cautiously optimistic that the labor shortage will ease in the coming months. “I feel like it's starting to turn,” she said. “I think with kids going back to school, I think with stimulus ending, with the holidays coming, people need some money. So I'm very hopeful.”