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DENVER (KDVR) — Employers continue to search for ways to find and retain workers amid what’s described as the “great resignation.”

A recent survey from Robert Half staffing agency found about 52% of Denver’s workforce feels underpaid and about 38% say they’ll consider changing jobs if they do not get a raise by the end of the year.

Eric Olson, district president for Robert Half, said people are switching careers for reasons beyond pay.

“A lot of candidates realize now there are other opportunities to work remote, to have that kind of flexible schedule with a lot more certainty of a paycheck and not so crazy hours, and they’re taking those opportunities,” Olson said.

Workers re-evaluate their labor

Nicole Chomyn left her 15-year career in the restaurant industry during the pandemic.

“I think it just really boils down to uncertainty in the industry,” Chomyn said.

Chomyn now sells exterior home remodeling products but says she misses the service industry.

“I owe a lot of who I am to the restaurant industry and the people I worked with,” Chomyn said. “There were a lot of other industries that were hiring more aggressively, and I think people did what they had to do, really.”

Restaurants are doing their best to re-hire and retain staff. A survey from the Colorado Restaurant Association shows nine out of 10 restaurants reported changing business practices or increasing wages to bring in employees. Many are also offering new benefits like health and dental insurance.

“There are workers, but you really have to offer a compelling package and it’s a mixture of everything: benefits, opportunity, salary, flexible hours,” Olson said.

‘It’s a good time to be a candidate’

Olson said many people who are changing careers are searching for more meaningful, fulfilling positions that align with their beliefs.

“It’s a good time to be a candidate. If you want to make a change, if you’re going to try a new industry or maybe reach for a position that’s outside your comfort level, go for it. Your old job or position will probably be there or at a similar company with similar pay,” Olson said.

Metro State University of Denver is also seeing a trend of people looking for new career opportunities. According to a spokesperson, about half of the new students in their master’s program are career-changers.

Olson said they’re seeing candidates interested in careers in accounting, information technology, creative, finance and legal. For less desirable industries, he recommends offering a combination of incentives.

“Maybe something in the service industry where they can offer a certainty of hours so a worker knows what they’re going to get paid. They can also perhaps offer quicker promotions,” Olson said.