Whether you're an employer or a job seeker, I'm sure you have heard or participated in a discussion surrounding the skills gap in the manufacturing, construction, and other skilled trade industries. Even organizations that offer good pay, benefits, and job security are having a difficult time filling their open roles. We know some of the reasons for the skills gap – a push for young people to pursue college degrees and discouragement from joining these manual labor fields to name a couple – but many individuals are now coming out of college with student loans and are struggling to find jobs that utilize their degrees because of the high rate of competition.
Employers all over the United States and Canada are taking all necessary efforts against the challenges of the tight labor market. Many employers want to find an answer to recruitment issues such as lack of candidates, candidate dropout, and becoming an employer of choice. Although these are very important things to investigate and improve upon where possible, knowing what you will do during the onboarding process to keep new hires engaged and excited to come to work every day will be even more important. People are no longer looking for a job because they don’t have one – people are applying to jobs because they are looking for a better job and know it’s out ther within their reach. New employees will not be scared to leave your organization early on in their tenure if you are not providing what they need to “tick.” Thus, what you are doing from point of hire counts as well.
Headaches from vacant positions. Training and development challenges. Increased turnover. The skills gap refers to the gap between the actual knowledge, skills, and abilities of candidates or employees, and the knowledge, skills, and abilities that employers want or need their employees to have. The gap is growing. Though there are over seven million people unemployed in the US, they may not possess the right KSAs to obtain these open jobs or to perform at a sufficient level. Below are five statistics that are causing major concern for organizations regarding the skills gap:
18-year low. That's the rate that unemployment has reached in the past 12 months. It seems like it's all we're all talking about; employers all over the United States continue to struggle to find, attract, and retain top talent. These challenges have encouraged hiring managers and recruiters to think outside the box and implement strategies with unknown consequences and outcomes, some of which clients would never consider prior to this time. Here are three strategies the current economy has promoted our clients to try:
If your organization is not feeling the effects of a tight labor market now, there is a good possibility that you will in the near future. Unemployment rates are at an all-time low and quality job candidates are scarce, making filling open positions difficult for many organizations.
How can you stay on top of this shift in the labor market? What are some ways in which you can alter your recruitment and selection strategies to fill positions, but fill positions with the right candidates?
With the current labor market, nearly all employers are having trouble filling their positions with qualified applicants. This puts hiring managers in a difficult place where they need to re-evaluate their hiring practices, and many look to the very beginning of their process: applicant flow. They might ask, “How can we get more people in the door?” It's currently a "buyer’s market" for candidates, so the recruitment process can feel much like a sales pitch. If you consider, for a moment, recruitment as sales, then have you thought about whether your sales territory covers the full candidate market? Would it be possible to "sell" to candidates from seemingly unrelated backgrounds?
In a tight labor market, it’s tempting to make rash decisions about your selection process. We often hear variations of different arguments that essentially boil down to:
We don’t have many people applying, we can’t afford to turn anyone away.
We need more candidates – and quickly; remove some steps in the hiring process.
Candidates can go anywhere and be hired; we’re putting them through a test that is too long.
Here are a few considerations that we talk through with our clients during this tough market:
Talent Acquisition professionals who are faced with high-volume hiring at the entry level are getting hammered by operations on a weekly basis to fill openings. If they keep relying on recruiting methods that worked well just a few years ago, the beatings will continue. Record low unemployment coupled with a growing economy is great for the country but comes with many challenges. The two challenges stinging the most is the constant churn of workers and the lack of quality overall. When faced with the pressure to hire and retain quality talent, the easy thing to do is point the finger to the part of the selection system where you feel the least control…the assessment. Is it a fair attack? Yes and no…
Every organization, no matter how long they’ve been in business, knows the importance of maintaining a long-term vision and strategy. That’s why I’m always so surprised by clients who want to remove their screening process during times of low applicant volume. It’s akin to dating: even if there are not a lot of interested candidates, you should still value yourself enough to maintain some standards.