We’ve all heard the news reports on how unusual the economy is right now. Interest rates are rising – great for our bank accounts, terrible for loans and mortgages. Wages are up. Unemployment is down. Consumers are feeling the pinch at the gas pumps and grocery stores. And while employees may be earning more money, it isn’t covering the increased costs of goods and services. While the Federal Reserve hasn’t declared a recession, everyone from the CEO to the receptionist certainly is wary that our country is headed in that direction. How can you keep your eye on the potential impact all this may have on finding and retaining employees in an already competitive talent war?
Lack of Engagement
There has been a strong recovery in the lost jobs since the pandemic started – faster than seen when jobs went away during previous recessions. Labor Economist Andrew Flowers commented, “In the previous recession that started in 2007, it took 76 months for job openings to return to the level at the start of the downturn. But in the recent COVID recession, it took only 12 months for job openings to recover to the February 2020 level, and by November 2021, openings had risen 50% above that.” However, Flowers notes that “there remain 5.6 million people who say they want a job but are not actively searching for one.” Even with the lure of more money and better job benefits, there are many potential job candidates out there who just aren’t interested. Have we hit a plateau in labor market participation? Perhaps. Are we in a transition? Maybe. Either way, we need strategies to recruit and retain the best.
Tips to Weather the Storm
With the labor market so tight, many companies have settled for the best available candidate versus the best candidate. Part of the challenge is the disconnect between what companies will pay and what candidates will accept. Currently, candidates are in a position of power.
Whether you are still struggling to fill positions or you’re in preparation mode for a recession, or both, there are some ways to improve recruitment strategies.
A recent article on SHRM’s website offered the following suggestion: review all open positions, why it exists, and what value does it bring to the company – drive business, contribute to employee engagement, or serve the customer. “Every role and position must have a purpose, a defined expectation for achievement of specific metrics, clarity in the purpose of the organization’s business strategy and how their position plays into that strategy. Just because you thought you needed a senior leadership role in the past does not mean you need that same position today,” commented Melanie French, managing principal at DLP Capital.
Review your job advertisements. In the old days, it was acceptable to simply list the skills requirements and other necessary credentials, and candidates would apply. Now, job seekers are looking for the WIIFM on job posts. Consider attracting candidates with a picture of what it looks like to them if they were offered that job. Companies are also waiving some of the education requirements if there are other assets and skills a candidate offers that bring value to the company.
Trent Cotton, Senior Global Director of Talent Acquisition and Retention at HatchWorks, offers these three strategies:
- Identify top talent and show the love
- Stop being cheap – you get what you pay for
- Develop and nurture your pipeline
He also notes:
- Workers are plentiful, but they have a higher price point than most companies are willing to pay.
- Large employers are changing requirements, pay, and benefits to compete for the workforce.
- We still have a huge number of long-term unemployed workers who are not entering the market.
The combination of economic conditions may be souring the mood of employers and employees, but it’s not all bad news, and there are opportunities in front of us.
A recession is bound to happen at some point, but we aren’t in one right now. Balancing your needs to fill positions right now with the odd economic conditions will be key. “Employers are probably keeping in mind that they went quickly from letting people go to hiring them, and they had a hard time rehiring people,” commented Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed.
How can we help? Casey Accounting and Finance Resources is here for all your sourcing and outsourcing needs. We can prepare recruiting strategies that offer the flexibility you require to manage the ups and downs of the labor market. Call us today!