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The incredible things local businesses do to attract employees during the boom

Posted on October 11, 2018

ODESSA — With the West Texas economy booming, some businesses are finding it harder to attract and keep employees.

“So many restaurants and businesses and retail companies need people,” Robert Ortegon, operations manager at Dillards in Odessa said. “They’re willing to pay whatever it is to get people in there because they have people working six, seven days a week. It’s relentless out here. It’s crazy.”

As a result of this worker shortage, local businesses must go above and beyond to recruit and retain employees.

At Jumburritio, workers get free meals, and if the employee is in college, Jumburrito pays for their tuition.

“I really appreciate it,” Jumburrito HR manager Lacey Davidson said. “And I really love this company for doing that cause it’s special to me because that’s how I made my way through college. A $200 book when your class is $400 is really hard. But hold on to those receipts and I’ll pay you back.”

For local Dillards stores, the strategy is paying more than any other Dillards in the country.

“Midland and Odessa have the highest average rate of pay…out of 297 stores,” Ortegon said.

The boom means even more money at businesses that pay by commission.

“Working in retail when the economy is like this is a great thing,” Ortegon said. “Because you’re constantly busy, and we have commission based departments. And if you’re out there, you’re going to make a lot of money.”

P.J. Aguirre used to work in the oil field but now works at the Verizon store. He said their flexible schedule and commission-based salary make for a better work environment, without sacrificing income.

“You’ll see paychecks that are comparable to that of the oilfield,” Aguirre said. “It’s just how hard you want to work. And instead of working those 120 hours, you’re only working 50-60 hours, at most.”

In Texas the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Some new hires at the Dillards in Odessa start out at $18 per hour.