North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum claims many employers have told him that the current 14,000 unfilled job postings only represent a fraction of their actual job openings.
North Dakota Job Services has estimated that the state’s current jobs bubble is 14,000. But Gov. Doug Burgum, on a visit to Williston, said many employers have told him that their job postings only represent a fraction of their actual job openings. Companies are listing one or two positions with Job Services, but hiring 10, 20 or even 100 people from that.
“There could be 20, 25,000 job openings in our state,” Burgum told local news outlet the Williston Herald.
The jobs bubble might be even larger than the Governor’s guesstimate. A significant number of companies and agencies do not use Job Services to list their positions at all. The North Dakota Petroleum Council has encouraged oilfield companies to use the service, so that the number of job openings can be tracked, but many do not do so.
Dan Eberhart, CEO of Canary Crane, is among those not using the state’s free service to list job openings. The wellhead company is headquartered nationally in Denver, but has its largest location in Watford City. It also has two locations in Williston and another in Sidney. The Bakken represents about 40 percent of the company’s business.
“I would hire another 100 employees today,” Eberhart told the Herald. “I wouldn’t need to even think about it. That is literally based on getting rid of my overtime. I had 8,400 hours of overtime in my last report. I just don’t have enough people.”
Employees only want overtime to a point, Eberhart said. In his experience, it’s seen as beneficial from 60 to 75 hours. After that, the employees are missing the football game, as well as time with family, and they are tired.
“They want some overtime, but they don’t want to only be at work,” he said. “So we are focused on recruiting.”
Eberhart has recently purchased 15 new pickup trucks, which he’s hoping can serve as an incentive to recruit experienced people to his team. “It works,” Eberhart said. “It’s the same pay, but you get a brand new pickup truck. It’s like a signing bonus.”
Other things he’s tried include using a temp service based in Bismarck, through which he gives people a guaranteed number of hours to come out to the Williston, Watford City and Sidney areas. But he’s still short a lot of people.
“I’m turning down two out of three calls,” Eberhart said, “because I don’t have enough people. So that’s my instant math. I’d take 100 in the Bakken without even thinking about it. I can get more equipment easily, and truthfully, I’d give up work I have in other places, because the pricing is better here in the Bakken. But it is about the people.”