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Labor Crisis: Workforce Update for Collier County

Labor Crisis: Workforce Update for Collier County

Many employers at a local and national level are struggling with workforce shortages. The question of “why” this shortage happening has many dimensions.

Locally, even with the area’s high population growth rate, growth in the 65+ population – those that are more likely to be retired – will still out pace growth in younger age cohorts by over 50%.

For context, that national average of millennials for an area of this size is approximately 80,981 whereas our area has 55,844 – that’s over 30% less than the national average.

On the other hand, we have 37% more individuals retiring soon compared to the national average for an area of this size. Our retirement risk is high, and we don’t have the labor force we need moving here to replace those job vacancies.

Cost of living in Collier County is one of the highest in the state and attainable housing is also driving the worker crisis. In October 2021 the median home price in the local market was $650,000, up $90,000 compared to October 2020 (NABOR, 2021). However, even those individuals that would like to move here to work and can afford the rates might not be able to find a home because of the lack of inventory which has dropped by 76% since October 2020. In the multi-family market, Naples has the second highest asking rent in Florida. Partly due to the fact that luxury units comprise 45% of the market compared to the national average of 27% (CoStar, 2021).

Labor force participation has fallen during the pandemic. Anecdotally, we have heard stories of workers moving into the gig economy roles (think of Grubhub, and Uber) to have more flexible schedules. There is also a rise in other non-traditional ways to make money such as video game streaming that are making workers – particularly in younger generations – reconsider ways to make money. Another trend has been the rise in individuals starting their own business. For context, business applications in Collier County increased 10.82% in the latest 2020 figure compared to the previous year. Anecdotally the individuals opening businesses are now one less person available for employment elsewhere.

At the broadest level, trends in the preference of work style among generations is something employers will have to pay attention to. A recent article shared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation provides three recommendations to gear focus towards Generation Z to help attract and retain this cohort. While it doesn’t solve all of our problems, it is one-way employers can try to combat this crisis. Some recommendations include investing in immediate and long-term diversity, equity and inclusion work, being responsive to employee demands for work flexibility and investing in virtual hiring practices.

Some employers have realized they need to get ahead of the curve by intentionally engaging with employees by conducting “culture checks” and “stay interviews” to ask what is working and what things the employee might want to change at their job.

If you have stories of how you have been creative with retention and attraction of employees, please share them with our Director of Talent Initiatives, Alex Breault at

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