How Will the Economic Downturn Affect Hiring?

Are you laying off or hoarding employees? Implementing hiring freezes? Considering salary transparency practices to fill critical positions?

Consider salary transparency as a recruiting strategy? Are we nuts? There’s a method to our madness and we’ll explain more below. As we continue to watch the economy and inflation, we’re also noticing the labor market slowing down – employers are adding fewer jobs, hesitant about hiring if we fall into a recession. On the other hand, employers are also hesitant to lay off employees as would traditionally happen with an economic downturn. Why? Because it continues to be difficult to fill already open positions. Employers are concerned that if they let people go, it may be twice as hard to fill the positions again. Confusing? That’s an understatement.
Overall, the job market is still strong. HR and staffing industry leaders will tell you that this has been the weirdest time in recruiting, and it doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon.

Labor Hoarding

With inflation still climbing, there are signs that companies may be “hoarding” employees. A recent report from Employ, Inc. suggested that some companies may be “labor hoarding” – choosing to keep workers rather than laying them off, hoping to save time and money overall. The report states that 52% of recruiters surveyed said their organizations were retaining employees, even those who might be underperforming or lacked a fit with the company culture. John G. Fernald, a senior research adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, said that employers would be especially hesitant to lay off workers who would be difficult to rehire once the economy recovers from a downturn, such as those with specialized skills or higher levels of education. In an article published by Vox, economists say there are several reasons employers may be less likely to lay off workers if it is short-lived:
  • Dealing with labor shortages and finding it difficult to hire people.
  • It’s costly to offboard employees.
  • It’s costly to onboard and train workers.
According to Aaron Sojourner, a labor economist and senior researcher at W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, “You can’t count on a long line of job applicants to just show up whenever you post an opening. I think employers hadn’t felt that so acutely in a long time.” Diane Swonk, the chief economist at KPMG notes that companies are still understaffed. “Even as you scale back, you’re still understaffed, so you’re not going to be firing as many as you would have. There’s also a sense that, if you work so hard to get workers, you want to retain the workers you have.” Fernald also suggests that employers should be especially hesitant to let workers go who would be difficult to rehire. “If you lay off people with valuable skills, well, you’re not going to be able to recover production when demand picks up again,” he said. While layoffs will still happen, Allie Kelly, the chief marketing officer of Employ, said there has been a “clear, growing trend of more companies implementing hiring freezes, although they still largely aren’t laying off workers yet.”

Is There Hope to Fill Critical Open Positions?

Yes, there is. There has been plenty of talk about re-examining hiring processes, modernizing benefits to include things like mental health resources and caregiving leave, and more flexibility in work hours, to name a few. Would salary transparency help? More recently, we’re seeing articles about salary transparency in job postings. Once a taboo subject, research done by Adzuna, a search engine provider, reveals that an increasing number of job seekers want to know the salary attached to the job before they apply for it. 54% of jobseekers turned down a job offer when they finally learned the salary. So, what’s the big deal? Only 3% of U.S. job ads include a salary. And why wouldn’t you want to reveal salary? With more than half of jobseekers turning down job offers, Adzuna calculates that represents about 480 million hours of wasted time on vetting candidates, interviews, and negotiations. All for naught. Positions go unfilled, and the process of recruiting and interviewing starts all over again. Adzuna’s survey respondents also delivered this information:
  • 28% of people feel no salary or a lack of salary clarity on job ads is their biggest frustration when looking for a job.
  • 33% of job seekers would not attend a job interview before knowing the salary the employer is willing to offer.
  • 86% of U.S. employees would be open for their colleagues to know how much they earn
  • 73% think employers making salaries more transparent would make the workplace more fair.
So, is there a downside? Again, yes there is. But only if you ignore current employees’ salaries and needs. According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), there are consequences of salary transparency – fallout with disgruntled employees whose pay is not equal to a new colleague. But eventually, the consequences go away after pay equities are established therefore establishing more employer/employee trust, fairness, job satisfaction, and found to boost individual task performance by taking a more holistic approach to reward-related human resource practices. More information can be found here: https://hbr.org/2022/08/research-the-unintended-consequences-of-pay-transparency How can we help? Casey Accounting and Finance Resources is here for all your sourcing and outsourcing needs. If you’re struggling with your recruiting strategies, call us today!

Is the Workforce Shrinking Before Our Eyes?

In the second part of this two-part series, we share research from Emsi, the leading provider of labor market data, on the vanishing workforce.

In the first part of this two-part series, we shared insights from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) on why the economic and labor numbers are unfamiliar with the ongoing talent shortage. You can find that article here. 

If you are in HR, a hiring manager, or running a business, you are not alone in your struggles to find workers. Wage inflation, the persistence of the Covid-19 pandemic, and workplace fatigue are all contributing to the challenge of hiring and retaining employees. In the past, when talent acquisition created anxiety among recruiters, we knew it was just a rough patch we’d all get through. Emsi’s research suggests that we’ve entered a “sansdemic” (without people), and the “hire more people” directive we’ve heard before isn’t going to help. Emsi reports the workforce is “vanishing” and will continue to disappear for decades to come. It’s not just a matter of a low labor force participation rate (LFPR), which measures people working or actively seeking work; it is a lack of available prime-age workers.

What’s Really Happening?

The last few years have been tumultuous with the pandemic. A February 2020 study by Manpower reported that a record 70% of US businesses reported a talent shortage – more than double the 32% who were having difficulty in 2015. With the Covid-19 shutdown, unemployment rates soared. In the past, when unemployment was high, talent was plentiful. But, in the frenzy of shutdowns and layoffs, and employees working from home, coupled with extended unemployment benefits and stimulus packages, workers didn’t jump back into the workforce pool. The result – millions of people not working and millions of open jobs unfilled. Esmi reports the LFPR has dropped to lows not seen since the recession of the mid-1970s.

Companies are trying to combat employee exoduses with strategies that include “internal mobility, reskilling and job redeployment…open to part-time workers, employees who live and work remotely, and workers who need training to perform…improving employee experiences with culture and wellbeing programs to make a company (and the job) more enjoyable and rewarding.”

But these tactics won’t be enough because there won’t be sufficient numbers of prime-age workers, and Covid-19 isn’t to blame. Emsi notes that this is “history catching up to us. We’ve been approaching this cliff for decades,” and there are a growing group of researchers and writers who are noticing this same trend.

In brief, Esmi reports that “there aren’t enough millennials and GenZers to fill baby boomers’ shoes”:

  • The mass exodus of boomers (workforce past)…The largest generation in US history remains a powerful cohort of key workers that still hold millions of roles. Their sudden departure from the labor force will gut the economy of crucial positions and decades of experience that will be hard to fill en masse.
  • Record-low labor force participation rate (LFPR) of prime-age workers (workforce present)…Thousands voluntarily opted out of looking for work. The children and grandchildren of baby boomers are not replacing the boomers who leave the workforce.
  • The lowest birth rates in US history (workforce future)…The national birth rate, already in decline, hit a 35-year low in 2019, and the relative size of the working-age population has been shrinking since 2008.

Where did the Prime-Age Workforce Go?

It might be easy to understand that, according to Emsi, 2.4 million women left the workforce from February 2020 to February 2021. Many stayed at home as their children attended school remotely. But Emsi tells us that this fact was overshadowed by another mass exodus – men have been disappearing from the workforce since the 1980s. Here are some additional takeaways from what Esmi is calling an “erosion of the prime-age male workforce:”

  • The prime-age male workforce (ages 25-54) plunged from 94% in 1980 to 89% in 2019. That five percentage-point drop represents over three million missing workers.
  • Millennials are expected to inherit an estimated $68 trillion from their boomer parents by 2030, making them the new, wealthiest generation in history…making millennials less motivated to seek careers of their own.
  • The opioid epidemic is a major culprit in siphoning prime-age men off the labor force.
  • The number of prime-age men willingly opting for a part-time job jumped from six million to nearly eight million in 2019.

Valuing What You Have

With the impending shortfalls, both near-term and in future decades, Emsi tells us that:

  • Education institutions and businesses will desperately compete for recruits who simply don’t exist.
  • The US stands to lose $162 billion annually due to talent shortages.

We need people. We won’t be able to “technology” ourselves out of this jam but recruiting and retention strategies can help slow the impending worker drought.

Conclusion

Emsi summarizes it by saying – “The sansdemic is going to make a tough situation tougher still. Fewer people means fewer new ideas. Fewer students. Fewer people in research and innovation. Fewer skills in the job market. Fewer employees. Fewer products and fewer goods. Fewer opportunities for growth.” Every person is going to be of value and will need to feel valued.

If you would like to receive a copy of Emsi’s research, email us at info@caseyresources.com. Let us help you develop effective retention strategies.

When Will the Talent Shortage End? Maybe Never, and Here’s Why!

In the first part of this two-part series, we share insights from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) on why the economic and labor numbers are unfamiliar with the ongoing talent shortage.

Even though there are plenty of predictors for employment and unemployment, most hiring managers rely on the unemployment rate to determine if their company will struggle to acquire talent. Since the pandemic began, the traditional indicators that usually moved together aren’t. Have they gone haywire? Are magnetic fields affecting the numbers? The answers are no and no.

How to Interpret the Conflicting Numbers

Alex Domash and Lawrence H. Summers, both from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, have studied all the predictors and indicators and conclude, in their NBER working paper, that the “labor market tightness is likely to contribute significantly to inflationary [wage] pressure in the United States for some time to come.”

They note that, “Economists have typically turned to common slack measures, such as the unemployment rate or the job vacancy rate, to assess labor market tightness and predict nominal wage growth. Historically, measures of slack on the supply-side, like the unemployment rate and the prime-age (25-54) nonemployment rate[1], have moved in tandem with measures of slack on the demand-side, such as the job vacancy rate and the quits rate, meaning that different indicators gave broadly corroborative signals of labor market tightness. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the supply-side indicators and the demand-side indicators have diverged significantly. While the unemployment rate and prime-age nonemployment rate remain elevated at late-2017 levels and imply modest degrees of slack, the job vacancy rate and quits rate have surged to series highs[2] and imply a very tight labor market. The unemployment rate does not adequately capture all movements in the labor market that are significant for wage inflation.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggests looking at other indicators, like the prime-age employment- (25-54 years old) to-population ratio, to better understand the presumed lack of candidates every company is feeling. So, it’s not just a matter of how many people are employable, it’s a correlation between the population and those who want to work. More on this in a minute.

Does This Have Something to Do With Soaring Wages?

Quite simply, yes. Domash and Summers comment that, “A high vacancy rate signals a high demand for labor and puts upward pressure on wages as firms compete to attract workers. A high quit rate signals that workers are confident enough to leave their jobs to search for a better opportunity, and can put upward pressure on wages since job switchers drive up wages as they move up the job ladder.” Let’s see a show of hands from the hiring managers out there who can relate to this.

Domash and Summers note their research indicates that “estimated wage inflation in the fourth quarter of 2021 is the highest it’s been in the last 20 years.” They also “simulated wage growth in 2022 and 2023 under the assumption that the vacancy rate, the quits rate, and the inflation rate remain the same…nominal wage growth under these assumptions is projected to increase dramatically over the next two years, surpassing six percent wage inflation by 2023.”

Where are the Workers?

Understanding indicators and predictors is one thing, but we are all feeling the pain of finding workers. Here’s the reality. Domash and Summers outline six factors as to where the workers have gone, and chances are, they might never come back. Those factors are:

  • Shifts in demographic structures (population aging specifically) = 1.3 million workers;
  • Covid-19 health concerns = 1.5 million workers;
  • Immigration restrictions = 1.4 million workers;
  • Excess retirements = 1.3 million workers;
  • Reduced incentives to work = 1 million workers; and
  • Covid-19 vaccine mandates = 0.4 million workers.

At the same time, they “project demand-side indicators such as the vacancy to unemployment ratio to continue to be very high over the next year.”

Conclusion

Domash and Summers predict that “the majority of the employment shortfall will likely persist moving forward. Moreover, if employment were to increase due to an increase in labor force participation, it would be accompanied by increases in incomes, and therefore an increase in demand. We believe that labor markets will continue to be very tight unless there is a considerable slowdown in labor demands.” This all suggests that companies need to sharpen their talent acquisition strategies and stay on top of the numbers since the tight labor market is bound to continue for some time.

In the second part of this series, we’ll discuss the “demographic drought” associated with the labor force participation and how it may shrink the available labor pool going forward.

If you would like to receive a copy of Domash’s and Summer’s complete working paper, email us at info@caseyresources.com. Let us help you develop effective talent acquisition tactics.

 

[1] This is equivalent to one minus the prime-age employment-to-population ratio.

[2] As of December 2021, the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) reported a seasonally adjusted

job vacancy rate of 6.8% (a near-record high, and much higher than any vacancy rate before 2021) and a seasonally

adjusted quits rate of 2.9% (the second highest quits rate on record).

Are the Economy and Inflation Hampering Recruiting?

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.

Summary

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!

Appreciating Senior Workers as an Asset

“Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it.” – Stephen Hawking

Do you view employee longevity as an asset? As most companies face staffing shortages due to The Great Resignation, have you revised your recruiting strategy to include attracting and retaining older workers? So many companies have a DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) plan, but it may not include hiring people over the age of 50. If it doesn’t, it should. One reason is that you don’t want to be called out for age bias. Second and more importantly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 25% of the U.S. workforce is currently over the age of 55. The number of people ages 65 and older who are still working is expected to rise to 29 percent by 2060.

Outdated assumptions about older workers persist but did you know that senior employees add value to your business? According to Josh Bersin, a global industry analyst, and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, chief innovation officer at Manpower, “people over the age of 40 are more entrepreneurial, patient, have collaborative natures, and they’ve moved beyond a phase of having to “prove myself.” In their article published in the Harvard Business Review, they note that even though there is an entire media and publishing industry that glorifies youth, the scientific evidence on this issue shows differently:

  • On average, raw mental horsepower declines after the age of 30, but knowledge and expertise – the main predictors of job performance – keep increasing even beyond the age of 80.
  • There is also ample evidence to assume that traits like drive and curiosity are catalysts for new skill acquisition, even during late adulthood. That means that there is no age limit to learning things.
  • Older workers can bring cognitive diversity to the workforce to help maximize team output.

In an opinion piece published by the Boston Globe, Tim Driver – president of the Age-Friendly Institute and founder of retirementjobs.com, Jody Shue – executive director of the Age-Friendly Institute, and Alice Bonner – director of the Age-Friendly Institute state a convincing case on “why employers should recruit and retain older workers.” The article explains that “smarter organizations view their employees’ longevity as an asset: their experience, lower turnover rates, ability to foster higher customer satisfaction, and diverse perspectives are among the crucial contributions older workers offer.”

Why Hire and Retain Workers 50+

Kerry Hannon, author of Never Too Old to Get Rich, provides the business case for seeing the benefits of hiring senior workers: “The truth is experience, put simply, gives you an edge.” In an article published by Forbes, Hannon offers 10 reasons to hire and retain workers 50+, including:

  • Loyalty and stability, attitude, productivity, and mojo
  • Decision-making skills, leadership skills, essential skills, and networks
  • Cognitive capacity and collaborative
  • Mentors

“When it comes to hiring, smart employers know that it’s not about age…An innovative company wants talented people, period,” commented Hannon. And with talented employees, companies win.

But considering that one-third of available workers are 55 years of age or older, there is an economic impact, as well. As the workforce ages, so will the global economy. Many people do not have enough money in their retirement accounts, which means they need to work and want to work longer. They enjoy the mental and physical stimulus going into an office provides and like to provide value to their companies and community. If your company is struggling with unfilled jobs, it is unable to meet the demands of customers, thereby creating ongoing supply chain challenges and affecting your profits.

Driver, Bonner, and Shue note that “postponed retirements are similarly beneficial to the economy as a whole: increasing GDP, providing skilled and less-skilled labor in a tight labor market, and reducing public health costs because people are active and engaged. By working longer, older adults are more likely to remain physically and mentally active, are better able to support themselves financially, and stay four times more socially engaged (vital to good health).”

How Can Organizations Appeal to Older Workers?

Bersin and Chamorro-Premuzic offer these suggestions:

  • Give older people titles and roles
  • Offer accommodations for flexible work such as more accessible workstations, the ability to perform tasks while seated rather than on their feet all day, and a varied schedule
  • Look at pay equity by job and level, not tenure
  • Bring age diversity into your DEI programs
  • Give older workers managerial roles, supervisor roles, and mentor roles
  • Coach and teach recruiters not to discriminate by age
  • Teach younger leaders about reverse mentoring

With a strategy in place, retaining your senior workers can be as easy as letting them know you want them to stay and/or offering phased retirements, reconsidering training and education opportunities, and incorporating the advice above. To attract senior workers, find organizations, programs, networking groups, and job boards targeted to the 50+ people in your community.

Summary

It’s time to rethink any antiquated points of view regarding senior workers and shift to a more well-rounded talent acquisition strategy. What else do you need to convince you to develop a plan for retaining and bringing back senior workers to your workplace? Let Casey Accounting and Finance Resources help you pursue talented Accounting and Finance professionals with years of deep-rooted knowledge, confidence, practicality, loyalty, and stability.

Workers Still Quitting. Where Are They Now and What Can Employers Do About It?

The big quit continues. Unemployment remains low. Jobs go unfilled. If workers are shuffling around and jobs are available, where did everyone go, and why is recruiting so hard these days?

The Facts

  • Many of those who quit or are considering quitting are Gen Zs. An Adobe survey of 5,500 workers found that 56% of those ages 18–24 say they are planning to switch jobs in the next year.
  • A key finding from the Lever “2022 Great Resignation: The State of Internal Mobility and Employee Retention Report” is that members of Gen Z are more than twice as likely to leave their current job (13%) as compared to Millennials (5%), Gen X (3%) or Baby Boomers (6%).
  • While the Adobe survey didn’t address Baby Boomers, Goldman Sachs estimated that the other half of employees who quit their jobs were Baby Boomers over 55 years old.
  • Steven Vaughan-Nichols, senior contributing editor of Red Ventures/ZDNet, notes the MIT Sloan Business Review, the biggest single predictor for companies losing workers by a big margin was a toxic work culture. “How big? A toxic corporate culture is 10 times more important than compensation in predicting turnover. Other reasons that ranked higher than wages were job insecurity/reorganization; high levels of innovation; failure to recognize employee performance; and poor COVID-19 response.”
  • Finally, some employees retired or “aged out,” some just took time off, some switched to “gig” work, and others forged a new path –  a new industry or different career, or started a company, to name a few alternatives.

Employers Need to Face the Issues

Workers are in a position of power and are being offered more opportunities and choices. Employers cannot deny or delay that much of their workforce, today and tomorrow, is requesting more from them. And the pandemic wasn’t the tipping point. Workers have been wanting changes for some time.

LinkedIn conducted a survey in 2018 to understand what professionals want. The key takeaways:

  • The Hiring Dealbreakers – professionals would not work at a leading company if it meant they had to tolerate:
    • Bad workplace culture (70%)
    • Lower pay (65%)
    • Forgoing a fancy title (26%)
  • What’s Making Them Stay the Next 5+ Years?
    • A sense of belonging (46%)
    • Benefits over perks (44%)
    • Support from the top (36%)
  • Tips for Attracting, Retaining, and Fostering Top Talent Today
    • Build pride in your company (87%)
    • Maintain values in the workplace (39%)

There are numerous articles and surveys today that echo these same indicators four years later. As Baby Boomers move on, Millennials, Gen X, Y, and Z are reexamining their careers and the workplace culture and environment that fits them best.

Twenty-seven percent of 18-39-year-olds tell YPulse they have quit or resigned from a job in the last year, and of that group, 14% have left their positions in the last 6 months. When YPulse asked why they left, “My previous job was not good for my mental health” is the top response, followed by “There was not a healthy work/life balance at my previous job.”  In the face of mounting crises, Gen Z and Millennials have been changing their lifestyles to cope with stress. Wanting to go into a different field/industry is another one of the top reasons young people told YPulse they have resigned or quit a job, and in fact, 29% of employed 13-39-year-olds say they have resigned or quit a job to combat stress/anxiety in the last year. Meanwhile, 26% of 18-39-year-olds tell YPulse they have taken time off from work or school, and 19% say they have moved to a new city or state to combat anxiety/stress in the last year.

Encouraging People to Stay

The pandemic gave people a new lens from which to view their lives, work, and integration between the two. There’s a disconnect between the many job openings and workers wanting their old jobs back. With nearly half of the workforce searching or being recruited for new opportunities, Vaughan-Nichols noted the Adobe survey sheds some light on why employees will elect to continue working in their current job/company:

  • Proper company recognition.
  • Pay raises.
  • In-person and remote flexibility.
  • Improved listening.
  • Hours and schedule flexibility.

The Lever study noted that the biggest motivator for employees planning to stay in their position is salary and/or potential bonuses (46% of respondents said as much). This top-rated motivator was followed by attractive levels of paid time off and flexibility (21%) and internal mobility (13%).

Retooling Employee Retention Strategies and Rethinking Hiring Credentials

Let’s assume you have an attractive company culture, offer very competitive pay, and expanded your benefits to include PTO, caregiver leave, and better healthcare, what else will make a difference in your recruiting and retention strategies as you prepare your organization for the future of work? There are two key opportunities to consider: skills development and alternative credentials.

  • Reskilling your workforce.

Gartner, Inc.’s 2021 HR Priorities Survey of more than 750 HR leaders found that 68% of respondents cited building critical skills and competencies as their number one priority in 2021. The survey, conducted from June through August 2020, found the other top HR priorities for 2021 are: organizational design and change management (46%), current and future leadership bench (44%), the future of work (32%), and employee experience (28%).

A LinkedIn survey revealed that 76% of Gen Z workers believe learning is the key to a successful career. Learning new skills and executive mentoring are appealing to this generation and are important to their future and how the companies they work for compete. Members of Gen Z and Millennials are also more likely than other generations to ask for role changes (36% and 43%, respectively), according to the Lever report.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, HR leaders are moving away from crisis management toward focusing on what will make their organizations strong, both today and in the future, including having the right skills and competencies, building resilience and having a strong cadre of leaders,” said Mark Whittle, vice president of advisory in the Gartner HR practice.

According to the latest LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, amid 2022’s storm of urgent priorities, skill-building and skills-based planning stand out as the most impactful places to make progress. While it’s natural to feel anxious that, for example, only 10% of HR and business executives say their organizations have a skills database with profiles for all employees, the report stated, “there’s a light in the dark clouds.”

The report goes on to say that organizations that shift to skills-based planning have a unique chance to catalyze learning culture and capitalize on emerging trends — especially the convergence of learning, talent acquisition, talent development, and the red-hot rise of internal mobility.

  • Employees who feel that their skills are not being put to good use in their current job are 10 times more likely to be looking for a new job than those who feel that their skills are being put to good use
  • 79% of Learning & Development (L&D) pros agree: It’s less expensive to reskill a current employee than to hire a new one
  • 54% of L&D pros agree that internal mobility has become a higher priority at their organization since COVID-19

 

  • Untapped Talent: The Rise of Using Alternative Credentials in Job Posts, Recruiting & Upskilling

Increasingly, U.S. workers are turning to alternative credentials to enhance and demonstrate skills and work-readiness, according to new research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), made possible by a grant from Walmart to the SHRM Foundation. SHRM’s new reports, The Rise of Alternative Credentials in Hiring, along with Making Alternative Credentials Work: A New Strategy for HR Professionals, found that nearly half of U.S. workers (45%) say they have some form of an alternative credential. Among those who don’t, about half (49%) have considered earning one.

But while employees and employers alike agree that alternative credentials bring value to the workplace and are instrumental in employee development, potential barriers to employers’ wider recognition of alternative credentials include a lack of systems that can easily identify an individual’s skills and talents, standards to recognize nontraditional or untapped talent, as well as employer reluctance to recognize a new way to validate these skills.

“Alternative credentials are key to uncovering untapped talent, especially when it comes to those job seekers who may not have the opportunity to build skills in a traditional way but have the competencies they need to succeed,” said SHRM Foundation President Wendi Safstrom. “A majority of executives, supervisors and HR professionals believe that including alternative credentials in hiring decisions can actually improve overall workplace diversity.”

Other key findings from the SHRM reports include:

  • Alternative credentials are popular with U.S. workers: more than 70 percent of U.S. workers agree they are an affordable way to gain the skills or experience necessary to enter a new job and that having a job-relevant alternative credential increases or would increase their chances of being hired for a job.
  • People who hold alternative credentials bring value to the workplace, according to executives (87 percent), supervisors (81 percent), and especially HR professionals (90 percent).
  • During a time of skills shortages, alternative credentials can uncover untapped talent. It becomes easier for diverse candidates to obtain employment (81 percent of executives, 71 percent of supervisors, and 59 percent of HR professionals).
  • Adjusting applicant tracking systems could help increase awareness of alternative credentials. Nearly half of HR professionals surveyed (45 percent) say their organization uses automated prescreening to review job applicant resumes, but only one-third of those (32 percent) say their automated system recognizes alternative credentials.

Ready to Remain Competitive?

If you are looking for ways to make your organization stand out, contact Casey Accounting & Finance Resources today. Let’s discuss the challenges you’re facing along with other hot topics in employee retention through upskilling and reskilling and considering alternative credentials in your job descriptions.

What’s the Price of Not Offering Mental Health Benefits in Your Workplace?

Employers might think that their employees’ mental well-being is none of their business. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The stress and isolation caused by the pandemic appear to have heightened our desire for work/life integration and exacerbated the pressure, tension, and anxiety we are all feeling.

According to Understood.org, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression and anxiety alone result in a cost of one trillion dollars per year in lost productivity (“Mental Health in the Workplace,” World Health Organization). A combined World Economic Forum and Harvard School of Public Health study estimated that between 2011 and 2030, the global financial impact of mental disorders will total $16.3 trillion in lost output (Candeias and Arnaud).

Nami.org notes that each year, one in five adults in the U.S. will experience mental illness, yet only one in three who need help will get it (Workplacementalhealth.org). Employees experiencing mental health issues like depression and anxiety are less productive or missing work altogether, even those working from home. This has a ripple effect throughout the organization. That’s why focusing on workplace mental well-being is important to an organization’s bottom line.

Stress Awareness Month and Mental Health Awareness Month

Helping employees improve their mental health is more important now than ever. April marked the start of Stress Awareness Month, and May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. Since 1992, Stress Awareness Month raises awareness of the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed since 1949 and was started by Mental Health America. This year’s theme of “Back to Basics” was chosen with the goal of providing “foundation knowledge about mental health […] and information about what people can do if their mental health is a cause for concern.”

While a healthy workplace culture can’t prevent stress and mental health problems, employers can provide more resources to help employees build mental strength. Understood.org states that according to the Society for Human Resources Management, many employers are enhancing emotional and mental health benefits. Types of support can range from managing stress to treating invisible disabilities such as anxiety and depression.

According to Understood.org, the potential benefits of supporting employee mental health include:

  • Increased productivity: Research shows that nearly 86 percent of employees treated for depression report improved work performance. And in some studies, treatment of depression has been shown to reduce absenteeism and presenteeism (lost productivity that occurs when employees are not fully functioning in the workplace because of an illness, injury, or other condition) by 40 to 60 percent.
  • Increased retention: In a 2019 survey of more than 1,500 employees nationwide, more than a third of the respondents said they had left a job due at least in part to mental health. Of these, 59 percent said mental health was the primary reason.
  • Decreased health care and disability costs: According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, rates of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases are twice as high in adults with serious mental illness.

“It’s important for managers to be trained to recognize the signs of emotional distress so they can react in a supportive rather than a punitive way,” says Jerome Schultz, Ph.D., a clinical neuropsychologist and a lecturer at Harvard Medical School. “Some employees need people around them to say, ‘Hey, I see you might be feeling stressed. Maybe now is a good time to try some breathing exercises or go take a walk.'”

Amy Morin, author of “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” and Inc. contributing writer, offers eight simple ways to create a mentally healthier workplace:

  • Promote a work/life balance;
  • Discuss mental health in the workplace;
  • Offer free screening tools;
  • Talk about EAP benefits often;
  • Make wellness a priority;
  • Provide in-service events;
  • Support employees’ efforts to get help; and
  • Reduce the stigma.

Ways to Support Employee Mental Health

To help you develop some activities or events for May as well as augment your current benefits, Total Wellness Health.com offers 21 Mental Health Awareness Month Activities for the Workplace. Ideas include:

  • Host a stress reduction workshop
  • Have a well-being or outdoor event day
  • Create a different kind of escape room
  • Discuss mental health
  • Schedule an on-site yoga day or other activity day; offer workplace massages
  • Have a paint party
  • Cultivate gratitude in the workplace
  • Create a coloring area
  • Giveaway wellness items
  • Promote random acts of kindness
  • Hold a community dance party

“Employees are more vulnerable to the negative impact of stress inside and outside of the workplace if they have not built strong positive relationships at work,” says Schultz. “Help make work interesting, social, and fun, so stressed-out employees aren’t working in isolation. Workplace relationships that are positive provide a source of support – that’s hard for anything else to replace.”

Additional Resources

There are many resources available to assist companies with understanding how mental health impacts their employees. We’ve provided a few of our findings here. Note that none of the resources shared in this blog are meant to be a substitute for medical diagnosis and treatment.

Recognizing and supporting your employees’ mental health with resources and stress-reducing activities is important to their well-being and productivity and should be a strategic priority for your organization.

Casey Accounting & Finance Resources Wins Two ClearlyRated 2022 Best of Staffing® Awards

The company received both the Talent Satisfaction and Client Satisfaction awards for service excellence.

Casey Accounting & Finance Resources, an industry leader in the recruitment of Accounting & Finance Professionals for direct hire and contract placements, announced they have earned ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing® Talent Satisfaction Diamond Award for providing superior service to their job candidates for at least five years in a row. The company also received ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing® Client Satisfaction Award. Presented in partnership with presenting sponsor Indeed and gold sponsor Talent.com, ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing® Award winners have proven to be industry leaders in service quality based entirely on ratings provided by their clients. On average, clients of winning agencies are twice as likely to be completely satisfied with the services provided compared to those working with non-winning agencies. Clients rated the company with 4.8/5 stars for service excellence, and candidates rated the company with 4.9/5 stars for service excellence. This is the seventh consecutive year the company has won the Talent Satisfaction award and the sixth year to win the Client Satisfaction award.

Focused on helping companies find the right people for their job openings, Casey Accounting and Finance Resources received satisfaction scores of 9 or 10 out of 10 from 83.3% of their clients, significantly higher than the industry’s average of 41%. The company’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 83.3% for client satisfaction and Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 89.5% for talent satisfaction far exceeds the industry’s average of 29% for client satisfaction and 18% for talent satisfaction.

“We are extremely proud to earn this distinction as a leader in staffing excellence since 2014. The Best of Staffing recognition validates our service culture and hardworking philosophy to deliver superior solutions for our clients and job seekers,” stated Steven Drexel, president, and CEO of the Cornerstone Staffing Solutions family of companies.

“Winners of the 2022 Best of Staffing award have demonstrated their commitment to delivering exceptional service, even as Covid-19 has forced them to reimagine and rebuild their approach to business,” said ClearlyRated’s CEO and Founder, Eric Gregg. “These service leaders have kept the client, talent, and employee experience at the heart of their business strategy, and it’s my honor to celebrate and showcase 2022 Best of Staffing winners alongside feedback from their actual clients on ClearlyRated.com!”

About ClearlyRated

Rooted in satisfaction research for professional service firms, ClearlyRated utilizes a Net Promoter® Score survey program to help professional service firms measure their service experience, build an online reputation, and differentiate on service quality. Learn more at https://www.clearlyrated.com/solutions/.

About Best of Staffing

ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing® Award is the only award in the U.S. and Canada that recognizes staffing agencies that have proven superior service quality based entirely on ratings provided by their clients, placed talent, and internal employees. Award winners are showcased by city and area of expertise on ClearlyRated.com—an online business directory that helps buyers of professional services find service leaders and vet prospective firms with the help of validated client ratings and testimonials.

Is Your Next Great Candidate Already Working For You?

The “Great Resignation” has created a labor shortage that has had resounding effects on small businesses and large corporations alike. Workers retired early, quit jobs to accept a higher paying position, or changed careers entirely. The pandemic was the tipping point: employees already struggling with unfulfilling work, wage freezes, and limited benefits. Some candidates were “walled out” of contention if they didn’t meet minimum job requirements such as work experience or college degrees.

Now, employers are struggling to fill skilled positions. How can you best navigate the labor shortage? Here are five tips for reconsidering your open job skills requirements and looking within the organization for employees who can be groomed for an open position.

Is There a Labor Shortage?

Yes and no. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,476,000 Americans were collecting jobless aid the week that ended February 5, 2022. This is the lowest level since March 14, 1970. The January unemployment rate edged up to a still-low 4% from 3.9%, as more people began looking for work, but not all of them are securing jobs right away. Keep in mind that there are discouraged workers out there – those folks who’ve stopped looking for work and who haven’t found suitable employment options or don’t make the list of candidates when they’ve applied for a job. Discouraged workers aren’t included in the headline unemployment numbers we see in the news. Yes, recruiters are struggling to fill open positions, but the reasons might not be identical in 2022 as they were during previous challenging recruiting periods. It’s time to rethink job descriptions, job requirements, and business objectives.

Tips to Fill Your Open Positions

Some companies have already revised their strategies to attract job candidates and modified benefits to retain employees. Things like enhancing pay and reward policies, continuing or offering remote and hybrid work options and home office stipends, providing increased mental health benefits, offering childcare/caregiver leave, and adding medical benefits such as fertility services, to name a few. And while these tactics have helped, companies are still struggling to attract talent.

Is your next great candidate right under your noses? It’s a possibility. Here are some ideas on assessing a current employee’s ability to fill a middle management or upper management position:

  • Is a college degree a requirement in the job description, and is that degree necessary for a current employee who already performs well, fits within the company culture, and deserves an opportunity for advancement? If the degree is required, what steps would the employer be willing to take to assist the employee in attaining the degree?
  • Is there a way to redistribute the job responsibilities to other positions and rethink what responsibilities you are looking for in the open position?
  • Assess the employee’s strengths and weaknesses as well as helping them increase their hard or soft skills. Skills testing can help determine where an employee scores on those required skill levels, and Learning Management Systems can provide training modules to improve upon the necessary skills.
  • Pair the employee with a mentor who can offer the guidance and expertise needed to advance with the company.
  • Allow the employee to participate in apprenticeship or leadership training and/or pay for their membership in professional groups outside the workplace.

The Benefits of Fewer Hiring Barriers

Every worker deserves an opportunity to advance their career, and if they are a valued employee, why wouldn’t you fight to keep them in the company? By re-evaluating your job descriptions and the total employee experience, your best candidate pool may have already walked through your doors and is yearning for a path to career advancement.

And once you’ve filled that open position from within, you can reconsider strategies for filling the vacated position. Is this just shifting one recruiting challenge for another? Not exactly. For one, you are now searching for candidates to fill an entry-level or junior-level position. There are many untapped talent pools out there. A retiree whose skills and experience are a good fit and who is more interested in being a sole contributor versus a manager. Offering internship/apprenticeship opportunities. Posting job openings on more diverse job boards. Or hiring temporary staff or contractors to pick up the slack and who also enjoy flexible work options.

We Can Help

Shifting to skills-based hiring opens the doors to a larger talent pool who may have previously been excluded from the recruiting mix. Lifting assumptions like degree requirements versus making allowances for strong performance achievements gives overlooked workers a renewed hope in their career journey and helps companies fill jobs more quickly.

We have helped companies review and re-evaluate their hiring strategies and job descriptions. We can conduct online behavioral and skills testing to predict candidate workplace performance. The tests are developed by subject-matter experts for content validity and contain questions for basic, intermediate, and advanced skill levels. We then help you use the knowledge obtained from assessments to determine a candidate’s skill level and aptitude to perform the duties required for an open position.

Contact us today to find out more.

Talent Acquisition Trends for 2022

It’s the most unusual talent acquisition time in many years. Let’s all face the reality – recruiting has gotten weird. Hiring surges. Reductions in force. Salary Increases. Ghosting. Candidate expectations. You name it; it’s happening.

Jobvite’s survey of over 800 recruiters illustrates the challenges recruiters are attempting to overcome:

  • 59% of recruiters said their organizations have experienced increased turnover since the onset of the pandemic in 2020
  • 49% of workers reported that job seekers are inquiring about the company’s DE&I initiatives, an increase in 16 percentage points from 2020
  • Recruiters shared that medical/dental coverage (51%), 401(k) (49%), and work from home flexibility (44%) have all been effective benefits in attracting new candidates
  • 73% of recruiters are seeing candidates ask about negotiating higher salaries. This is up 20% from 2020.

Last month we released our semi-annual salary survey. If you haven’t requested it yet, here is how you can receive a copy of the report.


Email us today
 at FinancialSalarySurvey@caseyresources.com, and we will be happy to share this with you. In the “YOUR MESSAGE” section, please enter “2022 Accounting & Finance Salary Survey”.

 

Jobvite also took a pulse on the toll this strange talent acquisition landscape has taken on recruiters:

  • 65% of recruiters reported that their stress levels have increased since the onset of the pandemic, pressured to fill roles quickly with qualified talent that is in short supply and being wooed by many other companies.
  • Current hurdles in recruiting include a lack of qualified candidates (47%), employer competition (40%), and requirements for in-office work (33%).

“Things have been changing so quickly, and we’re finding that recruiters are becoming more adaptable to labor market trends,” said Kerry Gilliam, vice president of marketing at Jobvite.

“Recruiters are short-staffed themselves, and yet they are having to hire more than before amid a shortage of talent.”

But where there’s great challenge, she said, there’s also great opportunity: “Hiring teams are using more external workers, looking at different sourcing channels and rethinking requirements for roles. If companies can invest in their hiring teams and rethink their employee value proposition, it is a great opportunity.”

Recruiter Mantra for 2022? Continuing to Adapt.

Roy Maurer, SHRM Online Manager/Editor, Talent Acquisition, shared his thoughts “Talent acquisition professionals continue to face recruiting and hiring challenges in the second year of an unprecedented labor market characterized by record-level turnover and job openings, increased stress, and significantly changed candidate expectations.” Maurer concurs with Jobvite’s survey conclusion: agility will be key to being successful. In his article, Maurer offers additional information from Jobvite’s report.

Jobvite states that around 78% of recruiters reported that their priorities have shifted over the past year to:

  • Improving quality of hire (48%)
  • Improving time-to-hire (28%)
  • Increasing retention rate (26%)
  • Growing talent pipeline (25%)
  • Updating recruiting technology (21%)
  • Improving diversity (18%)

What’s a Recruiter to Do? What are the trends in talent acquisition besides more money and more meaningful perks?

At Casey Accounting & Finance Resources, we scoured numerous articles on recruiting and found these five trends mentioned repeatedly:

  • Proactive recruiting: rather than wait for job openings, continually look for active and passive candidates who meet job requirements.
  • Upskilling and reskilling: invest more time on giving employees professional development opportunities for continued learning.
  • Candidate Experience: first impressions are key to keeping candidates engaged. Followed by…
  • Employer Branding and Employee Experience: The experiences don’t end once you’ve hired a candidate. Employees want to know that they are working for a great company and feel valued for their contributions. Increase your focus on DE&I.
  • Recruiting analytics and AI/Recruiting Automation

Final Thoughts

Everyone is fishing from the same pond. Your improved recruiting strategies can make all the difference in hiring someone or getting ghosted by them. We have experienced staffing experts, many with decades of experience, at the ready to assist you with your recruiting needs. We’re passionate about finding talent. We’re here to help you make the most of this disruption with the best suite of recruiting strategies for your company. Contact us today.