Hiring for Summer Is About to Get Harder. 3 Ways to Ease the Seasonal StingYou'd be wise to boost wages (and throw a big thanks at existing workers) if you want to compete for scarce talent.

 The summer job market is hot.

With unemployment at an overall low 3.6 percent and 17 states reporting record lows in April, business owners are still having a hard time filling open positions. And getting workers to fill seasonal summer positions--at pools, restaurants, and various vacation hotspots is even more of a challenge, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Labor shortages have led to increased wages. Michigan's Department of Natural Resources recently increased hourly starting rates for state park employees from about $10 an hour to $15 an hour, in the aims of combating a shortage of about 400 workers. Some cities are even offering $20 hourly rates for lifeguards, the New York Times reported; persistent worker shortages, however, have led to pool and water park closures and reduced hours.

In March, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor made available an additional 35,000 H-2B visas for U.S. employers looking to hire international workers between April 1 and September 30--up from the typically allotted 33,000.

Though these visas likely won't be enough to entirely compensate for labor shortages. So, businesses will have to continue to get creative about hiring. Here are three tips:

Gauge your existing workforce.

If you haven't already, survey your existing workforce (or previous workers) to gauge availability to go from part-time to fulltime, or to take on additional hours, Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia Business School previously told Inc. 

Consider lifting compensation.

You might need to boost wages to compete in a tight job market, but know that monetary incentives can also help to motivate existing workers. Bonus structures that reward employees for taking on additional overtime can help businesses to meet their staffing needs without taking on unsustainable financial changes.

Say thanks.

Just be sure to express your gratitude for those workers, too--and when offering bonuses, be clear about what kind of precedent you're setting, lest it burn you in the long run. "There's so much research that shows that if you add in some type of financial benefit to people, and then you take that away, it's far worse than ever adding it in the first place," Columbia Business School professor Adam Galinsky previously told Inc.

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