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DENVER (KDVR) – A large number of job openings remains the reality for employers from coast to coast. Openings have been posted among various industries and job types. Experts say the employee has never been more powerful in terms of choice.

Restaurant chains like The Garlic Knot in Denver are feeling the pressure.

“I recently got one application,” said The Garlic Knot Mayfair manager Jordan Wilson. “Can’t get ahold of them.”

Wilson has been looking for a full-time employee for more than a month.

Restaurants are not alone. Schools districts are hurting for bus drivers. The Jefferson County School District usually has up to 365 drivers. It is in need of 63 additional drivers.

“Every day, we have staff driving,” said Greg Jackson, JeffCo Schools executive director of transportation. “We have mechanics driving. We have every person who has a CDL driving.”

The district is using contractors to pick up children with disabilities. Routes have been consolidated with more students on buses. To bring in new drivers, the district promises to pay for employee CDL training. But it’s hard for the district to compete with the private sector.

“A lot of companies we’re competing with [have] monetary bonuses, and we are unable to do that right now … but we’re exploring it,” Jackson said.

Incentives are key, according to employment recruitment expert Eric Olson. He is district president for Robert Half International, a firm that helps companies find talent to assist companies in growing their businesses.

“There are over 10 million open jobs in the United States right now,” Olson said. “There are just not enough workers.”

Olson said from May to June, there were a million additional new job openings nationwide. He said companies are being forced to offer sign-on bonuses and flexible work hours. The pandemic has changed things.

“The pandemic did force many employees to think about what’s important to them,” Olson said.

Location, family time and career growth are what recruiters continue to hear about from job candidates.