CoAdvantage – It’s a tough time to be recruiting. With an unemployment rate that’s been at or below 4% for most of 2022 – reaching as low as 3.6% before summer – good workers are harder than ever to come by.
The labor shortages aren’t evenly distributed through the market, however, and that means the problem is even worse than it seems for certain sectors. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that durable goods manufacturing, wholesale, retail trade, education, and health services seem to be the hardest hit: they have more unfilled job openings than there are unemployed workers in their sectors. “Even if every unemployed person with experience in the durable goods manufacturing industry were employed, the industry would only fill 65% of the vacant jobs,” they write. So, how can employers continue to find skilled, talented workers even in this situation?
1: Improve retention of existing employees
First, you want to keep as much of your current workforce as possible. The more you can offer employees what they want – competitive salaries, good benefits packages, remote working options – the better your retention will be. Admittedly, many of these elements are easier said than done. For example, smaller organizations may struggle to assemble a benefits package that can compete with enterprise-sized companies. In this case, it might be a good idea to incorporate outsourcing or a PEO into your talent strategy.
2: Make yourself attractive to new applicants
Thankfully, many of the items from the first step will also make your organization more competitive in the labor market, but don’t forget to make sure your recruiting process itself is applicant friendly. Long delays in communication, for instance, might see applicants disappear as they accept other offers. You have to understand that, for now at least, the labor market is fundamentally different than it was pre-COVID.
3: Expand your total labor pool
- Remove barriers to workforce participation (e.g., offer childcare benefits).
- Increase “second-chance” hiring for those with past criminal convictions.
- Implement flexible retirement plans that stage the retirement process rather than losing workers to generational turnover all at once.
- Expand use of contract and contingent labor sources.
- Increase internal recruiting and employee referral programs.
4: Reskill and upskill existing employees
Upskilling and re-skilling are key to a future-ready workforce. The idea is to create a “fluid” workforce where workers in one area can easily be redeployed to other tasks as needed because they possess cross-functional skills. It’s worth noting that this issue is going to be long-term: the skills of the future are changing, and employers will likely continue to struggle to find employees with high-level technical skills for years to come.
5: Get help
When trying to recruit people who truly have their pick of jobs, it’s honestly just very difficult for all but the largest enterprises to compete in the labor market. In this kind of extremely tight environment, small and midsize companies need a team of people who do nothing but recruitment, know it inside-and-out, have the best technology available to them, already have all the contacts and resources at their fingertips, etc. Consider working directly with recruitment specialists or a PEO.
CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.