San Jose is scrambling to fill job vacancies – San José Spotlight – San José Spotlight

In an effort to fill hundreds of job vacancies at San Jose City Hall, city employees will soon see a threefold boost in their job referral bonuses.
Elected leaders last week unanimously increased the city’s hiring referral bonus from $500 to $1,500. The increase will be in effect from Feb. 20 to June 30. The city hopes the bump in bonuses will help attract new hires to fill a significant number of jobs. 
There are 722 unfilled jobs out of 6,234 full-time positions, which equates to 11.6% of the city’s total workforce, said Jennifer Schembri, director of employee relations and human resources.
Prior to COVID-19, the city had about 650 unfilled positions with a 10% vacancy rate. The higher vacancy rate is due to the city adding 50 new positions, she said.
Schembri said the pandemic also exacerbated the labor shortage due to economic uncertainty. Plus, the city’s human resource department has been short two people due to a general fund shortfall. This has delayed recruitment.
Adding to the hiring complexities is the city has hundreds of classifications and each is individual on requirements and its ideal candidate.
“It’s a very competitive hiring environment,” Vice Mayor Chappie Jones told San José Spotlight. “We’re having some real challenges filling those positions. We have to do everything to be competitive to recruit and retain qualified individuals.”
Other vacancy factors include the city’s high internal promotion rate, which leaves positions to fill, certification requirements and employee attrition, city leaders said. In areas where salary may be an issue, the city has been completing compensation studies to adjust pay ranges.
Jones said it’s not only extremely difficult to fill specialized jobs like IT and engineering, but also openings across the board in almost every department, including planning and code enforcement and park rangers.
“In Silicon Valley, people with skills, dedication and training are in demand,” he said, “and we’re competing against the private sector.”
Jones is banking on the increase in referral bonuses to help close the gap and bring people on board. The vice mayor doesn’t anticipate a dramatic effect on the city’s vacancy rate, but he said even a small positive effect is a good thing.
Another way the city is working to decrease vacancies is by streamlining the hiring process. Jones said some areas are antiquated, requiring people to take lengthy tests not even specific to the job and screening people out. The lengthy hiring process is also a problem—it can take three to six months to land a job at City Hall.
Bill Gold, senior executive analyst in the Office of Employee Relations, said in a memo that the temporary increase in referral bonuses to city staff “would bolster the city’s ability to recruit and hire the most qualified external candidates.”
The costs associated with the temporary increase will be absorbed by departments’ existing budgets. The initial referral program offering $500 was approved by lawmakers in June 2013.
Schembri said the temporary referral bonus is intended to create an incentive for employees to talk to their friends and professional acquaintances outside of the city’s workforce about the open positions and encourage them to apply.
“We are hopeful that it will reduce the city’s vacancy rate,” she said. 
Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected]
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I worked for the City of San Jose for about 2-years. One, their booster mandate is nonsensical and will be a barrier. Also, many good people have left San Jose City Hall because it is so unproductive, and toxic. Former employees have no interest in returning, current employees are probably applying elsewhere and the absurd policies/mandates minimize interest for potential, future employees. It is not a good place to work, at all. And, there budget is just an abomination with their outrageous pension liabilities.
“labor shortage” what a crock I was recently in the job market and the recruiter for Sr design engineer role confided that they had 550 plus applicants, so I started asking other recruiters and sure enough they all get hundreds of applicants, so if you don’t cross every T and dot every I, good luck.
I don’t know whats the bigger joke “labor shortage or transitory inflation”.
Seriously. This is another article that completely misses the point on the reason for the problem. Look at the article on school enrollment declines from Spotlight published the other day – it completely misses the mark on why school enrollment is declining, which is the real problem. These “leaders” don’t even know what the real issue is. One, the City wastes your time when you apply as an external candidate – I saw this while working there and while applying for a job. Second, Manager’s have no idea how to manage within City Hall. It is SO dysfunctional – they don’t even talk about the turnover numbers here for Departments, but it is VERY high.
Also, booster mandates? Union nonsense. Disgruntled colleagues.
You are 100% right that people are looking for good jobs – many. They just aren’t looking to work for an incompetent employer like the City of San Jose. And that incompetent employer continues to not see their own issues, which makes everything worse.
Best of luck to you – hope you landed a great job! I left the City of San Jose almost 3-years ago, and it’s nice to work for a supportive and reasonable employer.
I mean, isn’t it crazy what government tells us (inflation is transitory), and the reality (over a year later, more inflation)? Always a tale of two stories.
As 24+ year employee, I got tired of having to pay to work. With 5 years left to retirement, I still left and never looked back. Thanks for creating such an anti employee environment, otherwise I might have not left. My new employer is heaven to work for.
I went to the city of San Jose website and there are only 65 jobs listed since September.
That’s another thing never mentioned. So many less jobs posted on the website than stated in these meetings – so are the balance of jobs internal recruits? I’m telling you, they have no idea what they are doing over there – the #’s are probably wrong.
It is hard to feel this is a realust7c article. Hundreds of people apply for entry level part jobs. They do a panel interview for a cashier job at the zoo
This is not the reality. Of course people will sign up for great benefits, generous holiday and flexible work places. Let’s not forget no one except the contractors are working at City hall full time. They have no full time go back to work date either
Maybe we don’t need new city employees.
We need police officers, not so much for the rest of them.
As a former employee I would not recommend this place. It is anti employee and weak managers, they throw employees under the bus. No support from managers.1500 referral is not realistic. Top down you need to replace the leadership
Start in the Housing Department! Biggest money waster in SJ.
Department heads are selected/hired by the City Manager.
Unless all of these vacancies are Police department jobs. Eliminate them.
Love it!
And don’t forget more guards for the Big New Jail!
A month after imposing booster mandates, the city council bemoans a “challenging” environment for attracting employees. The cognitive dissonance is unsurprising but still startling.
Those 250 existing cops who haven’t been boosted on an understaffed force are gonna be able to find good jobs elsewhere if the city adheres to its upcoming deadline. Then what?
After reading your article on the vast number of unfilled openings at SJ City Hall, i find it amusing that there were no sample job descriptions or even a link for someone to browse those openings. So much for being thorough.
Another former employee here. Made it 2 years, both were during the pandemic. Upper departmental management is not interested in making things better for employees. It isn’t a good place to work and most junior level employees use CAJ as a spring board to get jobs at surrounding cities that pay competitive wages. Go back and listen to the budget call from summer 2021 when over 100 employees called to demand better wages and cost of living increases. $1500 isn’t enough to retain good employees.
Dear Community,
A while back, I spoke with a person from HR at the City.
I inquired about the Emerging Job Market at City Hall.
I was told that she understood how determined I was to help people and the City.
The City was not interested in Employees who want to help.
That the City was more set on control of the Public then creating a better San Jose for everyone.
Sad, but the other thing she said that really made a lot of sense was, the people have one control over what happens in the City from the Outside because the Department Manager’s do not want to deal with system wide changes in directions that have made then comfortable in their last years with their huge salaries.
The gratification comes from “helping” rather then Financial Gratification.
That is my opinion.
In Community Spirit,
Dear Community,
(Sorry, correction)
The people have NO control over what happens in the City from the Outside because….
In Community Spirit,
Let’s suppose all 722 vacancies were filled by referrals at $1,500 each. The total taxpayer dollars would come to $1,083,000.
It’s always more fun to dole out taxpayer money instead of your own.
I cannot claim the misfortune to have worked for SJ City Government, but being familiar with government job description drafting and req advertising –
many of the openings are written with a specific person or internal candidate in mind.
It is a common way to meet the legal aspects of advertising a position but ensuring that ‘your candidate’ is the one most qualified.
Now add on the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DIE) fad and you really have a hard time finding a qualified candidate –
is it any wonder why the DMV is the most used example of government in-efficiency.
The city can only post a handful of positions at a time because there isn’t enough staff to try and process all 700+ vacancies at once.
Everyone is right about this being a horrible place to work- literally soul sucking. All my friends and family already know that this place is so toxic, there isn’t a chance on earth they would ever even think about applying.
Also check out the jobs they prioritize- lots in the city managers office- we don’t need more people in there- we need more people that actually do the work that provides services – not plays politics. But you know, CMO gets to pick what their priorities are for them! Looks like it will be more of the same!
Goodness, what is up with silver colored font on top of a gray colored background in the comment section??? Who picked this hideous color scheme? Reading the comments is a challenge. Plus, when you highlighted the content, it’s WHITE FONT OVER YELLOW BACKGROUND. SERIOUSLY!!!
Hi All, I hope all are safe. I am looking for a job, I have Master degree in the environmental management from the university of San Francisco. Please let me know if there is any position available.
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