Navy Pier holds job fair to hire for spring, summer positions

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Navy Pier held a job fair Tuesday in the ballroom, where 22 tenants of the pier could meet and interview potential employees.

Employers were looking to hire workers for more than 225 positions, from restaurants to shuttle drivers.

Positions are available at Offshore Rooftop, Harry Caray's Tavern, Tiny Tavern, Fifth Third Bank, Margaritaville, Kilwin's and more. The pier itself is also looking for part-time seasonal guest experience positions including attraction attendants, guest services operators and shuttle drivers.

Danny Cortez of City Experiences, which oversees some of the boat tours and cruises, said they need to hire a few hundred people, including cooks, servers, hosts and bartenders.

But that's easier said than done. The Great Resignation has changed the landscape of the work force, with job seekers being pickier about where they apply.

"We do have to sell ourselves a bit more," said Laura Balderas, with City Experiences, "and I feel that with the rest of the organizations and companies here, I feel like they're in the same boat as well."

Davonne Pahms, director of guest experiences at Navy Pier, said the tourist destination is anticipating a busy, pre-pandemic level summer season. Businesses are trying to entice applicants with bonuses and other incentives.

"We offer 50 cents over minimum wage," Pahms said. "We offer paid sick time now."

It was good news for 19-year old job applicant TJ Ptak, who said: "It seems like a lot of people are not desperate but more eager to hire so it's really good for me, someone who needs a job right now."

For those still in the work force, it's all about flexibility. After more than two years of the pandemic, Google's nearly 2,000 employees will now work three days in the office and two days remote.

Andrew Challenger of Challenger, Gray and Christmas said many employers are adopting flex schedules.

"They feel it's the number one thing that employees want right now, whether that's flexible work hours, completely remote positions, or a hybrid arrangement," Challenger said.

If you missed the job fair, you can still apply online at navypier.org. The pier will also hold job fairs at some of the city college campuses later this month.
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