Several departments, in particular the Dining Service, have experienced difficulty this year in hiring an adequate number of student employees. Though the number of student workers has risen since last fall, multiple campus departments are still understaffed, likely resulting from an increase in the total number of jobs on campus and students working fewer hours due to higher pay.  

The number of filled jobs has expanded from 1,642 to 1,826, while the number of students who are employed on campus has increased only slightly, from 1,008 last year to 1,042 this semester. Nearly every department on campus hires at least one student employee and six departments are still looking to hire students—Dining Service, the Office of Development, Campus Services, the Office of Safety and Security, the libraries and Information Technology.  

Supervisors are not receiving the same quantity of applications as usual, according to Associate Director of Student Employment Meredith Haralson. Dining, the largest student employer, has experienced the greatest need.  

“Dining obviously has the greatest number of positions, so they feel it more so than some of the other departments,” said Associate Director of Dining Service Operation Michele Gaillard.  

The lack of student employees is the reason the Dining Service has resorted to self-service in the food lines at every meal this year.  

Higher wages could be causing students to work fewer hours than in previous semesters, Haralson said. With all student employees making at least a dollar more per hour than they did last year, students can make the same amount while working fewer hours.  

Dining Service is particularly looking to hire for daytime weekday shifts, but has had trouble finding students for these times.

To resolve the employment difficulties, Haralson and Gaillard are working to better understand employment on campus, increase the desirability of certain jobs and advertise openings.  

“I’m not sure if we completely understand why students work. I think there are various numbers of reasons as to why they want to work and why does someone want to work in Dining or not want to work in Dining,” said Gaillard. “We’re working on figuring out how to find the students that really want to work in Dining.” 

Dining Service has advertised positions at the check-in desks in both dining halls. Additionally, it is revising the descriptions of jobs to provide more specific information about job responsibilities and is working with the Career Planning Center about how skills acquired in Dining can be represented on a resume.

The Office of Student Employment is also helping other departments to better advertise jobs and communicate what the students will gain and the positions’ appeals.  

“I’m working with managers [and] supervisors across campus to do similar things and look at those job descriptions,” said Haralson. “Hopefully we can do that across the board so that students will be more interested in some of those opportunities because there are a lot of great skills they can learn.”

Student Employment recently placed posters in the first-year dorms in an attempt to target students who may not know about this the student employment website. Haralson said she has struggled to find the most effective way of advertising online due to the various  means of electronically communicating on campus. 

“Part of it I think is getting students to understand what jobs are out there, and do they know what’s available and what opportunities are on campus. Are they looking at JobX, are they seeing what’s posted or how can we do a better job of communicating that out to students?” said Haralson.  

Haralson is available to meet with any students seeking jobs. The Office of Student Employment is temporarily located at 216 Maine Street. Campus employers are already beginning to post jobs for next semester on the Student Employment website, JobX.