Orlando parks use job fairs to attract workers

Posted Monday, May 15, 2006 9:18 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Combined, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld are looking to hire more than 8,000 summer and permanent workers this month and next. Most of the jobs are entry-level positions paying $6.90 to $7.50 an hour. Yet at jobs fairs for the tourism trio last week, lines often were short or nonexistent. At times, greeters had to wait for the next job candidate to show up while rooms full of tables and chairs for applicants stood mostly empty.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Monday, May 15, 2006 3:01 PM
Short term job with low pay and little job security? OOOOOH! Pick me! Pick me!
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Monday, May 15, 2006 3:20 PM
I've never understood how they can staff the parks at those pay rates because it's not a living wage, especially with the cost of living getting sky-high in Orlando. If there were fewer positions, and they didn't need them during school, they could use the local teen crowd, but that's obviously not the case.
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Monday, May 15, 2006 4:27 PM
A noticeable fraction of their employee base is seniors supplementing retirement income. But, I can't see how they manage it either. DLR is apparently having the same problems.
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Monday, May 15, 2006 7:22 PM

"Anytime you drop below 4 percent [unemployment], anybody who wants a job and is employable basically is in a position," said Christine O'Neal, SeaWorld's vice president for human resources. "We've been hovering around 3 for a long time. I think we're certainly feeling it more right now. Unemployment is a bit lower than it was last year, but you know last year wasn't easy either."

This pretty much sums it up...In this booming economy you either raise the pay scale or you expand the recruitment base (Detroit anybody?). Anyhow, it sounds like the second option is the plan. Time will tell if this works. Here in Vegas, they tend to use the first option...

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Monday, May 15, 2006 7:24 PM
Hmmmm too bad Fla is so far from Mexico.
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Monday, May 15, 2006 8:17 PM
I've never understood how they can staff the parks at those pay rates because it's not a living wage, especially with the cost of living getting sky-high in Orlando.

I was never of the opinion that the majority of these jobs were designed to provide a “living wage.” Most of these jobs were just entry level jobs suitable to high school and college aged kids and retirees looking to supplement parental or retirement income. It seems to have worked well in the past. We may have reached (MAY?) the point where there simply are not enough of these “supplemental-income-seeking” employees out there. Time will tell.

I agree that it is amazing that they could staff all these parks with these types of wage-earners. However, when you look at the fast-food industry and local swimming pools…you see the same type of employee willing to do the job for this type of wage.

...reminds me of my first life guard job (about 1984??) at $1.90 per hour! :-) What was I thinking? I still think they must have been breaking the law back then. Was there a minimum wage in 1984? Did it not apply to a 16 year old?

*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 5/15/2006 8:18:13 PM ***

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 8:24 AM

when you look at the fast-food industry

I don't know about you folks, but I'm seeing a lot fewer teens and a lot more adults in their 20s and 30s working at my local fast food emporia. Perhaps that's a relflection of the lousy economy in MI.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 8:32 AM
...reminds me of my first life guard job (about 1984??) at $1.90 per hour! :-) What was I thinking? I still think they must have been breaking the law back then. Was there a minimum wage in 1984? Did it not apply to a 16 year old?

*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 5/15/2006 8:18:13 PM

With my first job in 1986, the minimum wage was $3.35. Of course, there are different rules for tipped employees, but I doubt if you got much tips as a life guard <G>

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 9:23 AM
I never said the jobs were a living wage, or that they were suitable to anyone. That's exactly my point though on why they can't fill the jobs. The theme parks and resorts are open year-round. No market in the country has a teenage force that could staff that situation because there aren't enough of them and they obviously have to go to school.
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Wednesday, May 17, 2006 11:25 AM
They are having the same problem in Anaheim. Actually, the local fast food joints are taking all the *cream* and DL is left with the dregs. Supposedly they are trying to hype the jobs by promoting their employee events like canoe races (http://www.miceage.com/allutz/al050906c.htm - scroll down)

Another problem is the English speaking requirement. I guess they could expand their base by offering English speaking courses along with the regular cast member school.

Anyway, with the prices they charge at the gate, perhaps they should pay more. At the very least they should pay more than the local Walmart. I guess the only problem is they can't just bump up the initial pay without boosting everyone else's pay lest they upset the ones who actually stuck around more than four months.

Eric - Who plans to suppliment his retirement by working at San Diego Disney Sea when it opens in 2040.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006 1:51 PM
For several years now, most resorts at the Jersey shore have had trouble hiring enough lifeguards, etc.

Another reason why there's a shortage in available labor is that college kids are expected to find "summer" jobs in their chosen majors. Not to mention that kids doing internships and co-ops are mostly off the traditional schedule of school from September to May and free all summer. And many others are taking classes during the summer months.

It's all about building up the resumes now. Selling Dippin' Dots or operating the Tilt-aWhirl don't stack up against a 6-month internship with some major corporation or prestigious firm.

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