Looking to Hire? Read This.
Looking for Work? You’re in Luck.
According to money.cnn.com, for the first time in 20 years, there are now more job openings than there are people looking for work. With 6.7 million job openings and just 6.4 million available workers to fill them, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the American economy has never before experienced this phenomenon. Cnbc.com reports the jobless rate is now at 3.8%, an 18-year low.
There are several possible explanations for this:
- Job and job seekers aren’t always in the same geographic locations. Where people live and where there is available work don’t always coincide. While some companies offer relocation incentives and reimbursement, many people are unwilling or unable to relocate, even for the right opportunity.
- Available workers may not have the skills employers are looking for. A “skills mismatch” continues to frustrate employers as workers with the specialized training or skills needed for the job are becoming tougher to find.
- Wage growth has dropped to about 3% per year, compared with 5% in the early 2000’s, according to the Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta. Workers may be working part-time, or opting for independent contracting jobs (i.e. driving for Uber) and holding out for a higher wage in a full-time position.
- Companies are offering incentives and benefits to employees who demonstrate loyalty and longevity, resulting in higher retention of workers. This lack of mobility makes it difficult for companies to attract skilled and experienced workers away from their present jobs.
- An increase in retirement and an aging workforce. As more and more baby-boomers retire and drop out of the workforce, their positions are becoming difficult to fill with workers who have a comparable level of experience.
What this means for job-seekers:
- Hiring is at an all-time high. Most of the job gains are in hospitality, retail, health care, construction and professional and technical services. Transportation, warehousing, manufacturing and mining also showed growth.
- The number of full-time job availability has increased while part-time job growth fell. For job-seekers who have been biding time in multiple part-time or contracted jobs, now is the time to seek full-time employment.
- Prospective employees can be more selective about where to apply and interview. With the ability to research, hone in and hold out for the “perfect match” position job-seekers set themselves up for job satisfaction and increased longevity with the company.
- To help in the search, consulting a professional recruiter and enlisting their insight and expertise can be a valuable on many levels. A recruiter will match the unique skills of the candidate with a company that is serious about finding the talent they need. Recruiters use a variety of tools to target the search while leveraging their connections as experts in their particular field.
What this means for employers:
- Be prepared to go the “extra mile” to find the talent you need. In the same manner that you recruit clients for their business, be ready pull out the stops in order to connect with and secure the best talent available.
- Assess and minimize your risk of losing employees to other organizations. Competition is fierce and you may need to rethink and upgrade your company’s benefits, including compensation, healthcare, vacation/sick leave and perks. In addition, it is vital to establish and maintain a positive corporate culture in order to retain valuable team members.
- Ask for feedback from current and former employees and act on it! Conduct exit interviews, and anonymous surveys and encourage honest feedback. Read online reviews written by current and former employees to determine areas of weakness and suggestions for improvement.
- Ensure you are selecting the right candidate. Just because there may be a shortage of candidates doesn’t mean you should settle for the wrong one. “Misfits” can cost your company more money down the line. Screening and assessment tools can filter out unqualified candidates, measure risk factors and decrease turnover while increasing productivity and consistency.
- Focus on recruitment. Figure out which aspects of your current recruiting schema have been most successful (on-line advertising, referrals). Expand on those strategies and then get creative. Consider enlisting the help of outside, professional recruiters. Engage a consulting or recruiting firm that specializes in the type of talent you need. They often have the inside track to candidates you may not have access to.
Whether your focus is on starting a new career or hiring the perfect candidate for your company, knowing how to navigate the ins and outs of the record-setting low unemployment rate can give you an advantage.