The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has confirmed it is still looking to hire around 6,000 new officers by September 2021. So far, around 3,000 have joined the TSA. In order to attract more employees, the agency is now offering a $1,000 sign-up bonus.
Back in February, the TSA confirmed it was looking to hire around 6,000 new front-line workers. The agency was starting to see passenger numbers pick up, and as demand increases, it needs more workers. The TSA was hoping to hire the new Transport Security Officers before the summer rush.
However, the recruitment process isn’t progressing as well as expected. Despite offering jobs to an industry that has been plagued with furlough schemes and job cuts over the past year, the TSA has only managed to hire half the number of staff it needs.
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Looking for volunteers
According to reports, the agency is now offering $1,000 sign-up bonuses for anyone who accepts a position. In addition, the TSA sent an internal memo to office staff asking for volunteers to work at airport checkpoints to help deal with the increase in passengers.
It’s not unusual for TSA office staff and even for airlines to offer staff to work temporarily at non-security checkpoints. However, usually, this is only needed at holiday times such as Thanksgiving and Christmas when traffic numbers surge. Non-security roles involve managing lines, organizing luggage and check-in points, checking conveyor belts, and helping solve passenger queries.
As reported by CNN, the TSA confirmed that
“The agency continues to leverage established, creative recruitment strategies to meet personnel needs, including nationwide recruitment incentives and targeted retention incentives in strategic markets.”
These creative recruitment strategies include the $1,000 bonus as well as allowing part-time employees to take on full-time roles and additional overtime pay.
So far, the TSA has hired around 3,100 transport security officers, but it needs almost double this amount for security positions. The blue-collar role has a full-time salary of around $34,000. Of course, plus the $1,000 sign-on bonus.
The fact that the TSA is searching for so many new employees is a good signal that passenger numbers in the US are recovering. The TSA’s decision to ask for voluntary support staff in non-security roles is also a good sign. Although, as stated, this isn’t totally unheard of in the past.
In addition, with new biometric testing being rolled out, the TSA was always going to need more staff. As summer approaches and demand increases, TSA will need to find more employees, or waiting times at airports could get longer. At Seattle-Tacoma Airport, passengers need to pre-book TSA appointments to help manage wait times.
Hiring another 3,000 checkpoint staff will certainly help ease congestion at the airport. However, it’s likely that you might spend longer than planned at the airport if you are flying this summer.
Have you ever experienced a long wait time at the airport? Let us know in the comments.