Eighty-six percent of Hawaii businesses are struggling to fill open positions, according to a recent statewide survey by the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii.

The chamber conducted the “Return to Work” survey among its member businesses to gauge the types of challenges companies are facing as they attempt to bring employees back from furlough or increase their staff. A total of 380 businesses representing a range of industries responded to the survey.

The results, which were released Wednesday, found that more than 85% of respondents currently have job openings. Of those, nearly 65% have 1-10 openings, while about 30% are looking to hire 11 or more employees, and a couple dozen businesses are seeking more than 100 employees.

The job openings include both salaried positions, as well as hourly wage jobs.

The majority of respondents, at 64%, said that they would consider or have already considered “raising compensation, benefits, signing bonus, referral bonus, or other incentives to fill positions.”

Most, at 73%, also said that the challenges in increasing staff have put “pressure on existing employees.” Sixty percent of companies said that they have had to “compensate for the recruitment challenge in the form of overtime, shift schedules, and closure of business hours.”

“This reinforces what we’re seeing all across the nation,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, the CEO of Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, in a statement. “Businesses are having a difficult time bringing employees back to work. This situation is repeating itself daily and impacting multiple businesses, large and small. Although the hardest hit industries are hospitality, tourism, and food industry, many more other establishments who have already been severely harmed during the pandemic continue to shoulder the burden by increasing overtime, curb services, and close brick-and-mortar shops several days a week.”


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