Claire Murphy, Albertsons

Above, listen to the interview with Claire Murphy, regional manager for Albertsons



There are two types of signs that dominate the landscape in Rio Rancho.

Road construction. And hiring.

McDonald’s will hire you. And there’s a new one coming to Rio Rancho that soon will be looking for employees.

Stripes Burrito Co. on Southern Boulevard has 17 employees. Co-owner Gary Hines needs 25. He plans to open a new restaurant at Unser and McMahon boulevards and is going to need even more employees.

Wendy’s, Sonic, Burger King – almost every fast food restaurant in the city needs employees.

The City of Rio Rancho wants more firefighters. The park service wants more rangers.

Sandoval County Regional Emergency Communications Center is looking for a 911 dispatcher and call taker.

Local hospitals need nurses, techs and health-care providers. Intel Corp. wants engineers.

Just about every business in Rio Rancho is hiring.

At a hiring event April 7, a “career fair” put on by New Mexico Workforce Connection at the Rio Rancho Events Center, there was a host of hopeful employers at tables lining the hallway. There were gifts on those tables: water bottles, keychains, dice, and lots of bags bearing company names. I grabbed one from the FBI table.

Ironically, it read “Wanted by the FBI, A Drug-Free America,” seven days after New Mexico flung the door open for recreational marijuana. Pot. Weed, for the Boomer generation of users.

Among others, the Santa Fe Police Department was on the hunt; Goodwill ($13 an hour) needed retail; Albertsons was hiring, Open Skies Healthcare was in the market for employees in social work, psychology, family studies, sociology, counseling and other human services fields.

The Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel had a whopping 51 openings in just about every department.

They needed, among others, a controller in accounting, employees for the bowling center, an appliance repairman, electrician, plumber, gift shop cashier, recruiter in HR, guest room attendants, housekeeping inspector, linen attendant, IT techs and a security analyst, digital marketing specialist, bike patrol officer, slot attendants and supervisors, surveillance operator, part-time table games dealers and a bell attendant for transportation.

It’s a competitive world out there for employees.

“With so many open positions and not enough interested applicants, it takes creativity and ingenuity to effectively staff our organizations,” said Heather Talamante, an HR expert in Rio Rancho.

“From hiring incentives to on-the-spot hiring practices, we have to act fast,” she said. “If too much time is spent lingering on a candidate, they will have another offer by the time I call them back. Or worse, they will accept my offer, receive a better offer, then leave after they are trained.”

Indeed, Talamante pointed out that in a “normal” jobs environment, it can take four to six weeks to fill an entry-level job, “but right now it takes eight to 12 weeks to fill those same roles.”

“Recruiters and business leaders are having to make adjustments in many areas to keep those seats filled; there is a ton of competition for qualified talent,” she said.

If you don’t have a job in Rio Rancho, it’s because you don’t want one.

I would work in a casino in a heartbeat. There’s money everywhere.

When we lived in Las Vegas, these glittering cash playgrounds were like parties for adults, with the sounds of chiming slots, shouts of excitement at the gaming tables and that Sinatra impersonator in the corner crooning oldies.

Sounds like fun to me.

At Santa Ana, there is also a pretty good benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision and prescription insurance coverage, eight paid holidays per year and accrued paid time off.

There’s a 401(k) for full- and part-time employees, an employee assistance program, a volunteer program, flexible schedules.

CEO John Cirrincione said the organization was “seeking people who want to work in a fast-paced and fun environment.”

Health care, if you qualify or get the training, might be the best area for locals to find jobs, however. According to LinkedIn, which released its annual Jobs on the Rise Report in January, health care and social assistance sectors will add about 3.3 million jobs between 2020-30, which is the most of any sector.

But, noted LinkedIn, burnout is a growing problem among health-care professionals, and COVID-19 hasn’t helped things. So look for lower stress jobs like health coach, researcher or an administrative support job.

No for me to health care. I don’t like the sight of blood.

And when somebody throws up, I tend to follow their lead. It wouldn’t do for a patient to toss his cookies only to have the male nurse — that’s me — join in.

After watching the firefighter training video on the Observer web site, I decided that’s out, too. Way too hard.

Parks would be OK, except I am an urban animal. There’s bugs and such outside. Some of them bite.

No. Put me inside. Bright lights, big city. Among the patrons walking around with glazed eyes having just pumped a slot with a few hundred dollars. Or the ones who, just having won a bunch, grin all the way to the bank.

If I have a choice, and these days it looks like I do, I’m going for the casino. I love the sound money makes.

Even when it’s mine.