Hiring Outlook is the Best in 10 Years

Employers will have to evolve with the new hiring landscape that is filled with the pitfalls of more competition for qualified employees, an overall lack of employees to choose from and other barriers.

Employers will have to evolve with the new hiring landscape that is filled with the pitfalls of more competition for qualified employees, an overall lack of employees to choose from and other barriers.

Nineteen percent of the 11,500 U.S. employers reported that they plan to add employees in the first quarter of this year, which will be the strongest first-quarter hiring outlook in 10 years, according to the “Manpower Employment Outlook Survey,” released in mid-December last year.

Non-four-year-degree employment areas reporting the most hiring in more than a decade include U.S. transportation and utilities, construction and durable goods manufacturing. 
For employees, that means a lot job options, which could create a bit of a bidding war for talent. 

At the same time, employers may have longer hiring cycles because of talent shortages, and they may experience increased competition for the talent that is on the market.

There are two factors converging simultaneously on the hiring landscape that are contributing to the strong need for employers to add to their employee ranks: The U.S. is at the lowest labor participation rate in 44 years. There are less employees to choose from, creating a scarcity situation.

That scarcity comes partially from a lack of trained workers. More alarmingly, in a country deemed to be at full employment, the unemployment among the next generation of workforce—millennials—is at staggering 12.8 percent as of February 2017, published by the Generation Opportunity millennial job report.

Employers are having to react to that scarcity with increased wages. American cities with significantly low unemployment, such as Minneapolis, Austin and Denver are reporting wage increases at double the national average, 4 percent versus 2.3 percent, according to the “Wall Street Journal.”

The second data point involves the Silver Tsunami, which refers to the rise in the median age of the U.S. workforce to levels unseen since the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935. It is projected that by the year 2020, about 25 percent of the U.S. workforce will be composed of older workers (ages 55 and over). By 2029, one-fifth of the U.S. population will be 65 or older, and many of those 76 million or so post-war baby boomers—perhaps up to 50 million of them—will be exiting the workforce over the same period. Workers at the front of the wave are retiring now, leaving employers with openings they are struggling to fill.

One traditional route employers have enjoyed for the last few decades are the use of online job boards, such as Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com, where they can post job openings online and candidates can submit resumes.

At its inception, most job boards were, for the most part, equal regarding their ability to deliver qualified applicants to the employer. Those days are gone.

Job ads posted by employers are no longer equal in stature, thanks to platforms such as Indeed.com and Ziprecruiter.com. These two companies have created a “Google ad-word” methodology, where employers must bid-up a job by paying a pay per click amount per view for the job to be seen by potential candidates. If the employer does not bid enough money per click, their job is almost impossible to find by the job seeker. To make matters even more difficult for employers, Indeed.com will not list the telephone contact number on resumes within their database. Employers combing that database, for a fee, are only allowed to email candidates. It is up to the candidate if they will or will not engage with an employer.

Considering the lack of talent on the market, employers are going to have to stop hunting for the “purple squirrel,” a term used by recruiters to describe a job candidate with precisely the right education, set of experience and range of qualifications that perfectly fits a job’s requirements. The implication is that over-specification of the requirements makes a perfect candidate as hard to find as a purple squirrel.

The result of seeking a purple squirrel is often a slow hiring process or worse yet, a fruitless hiring search. Employers who relax stringent hiring criteria, the number of years of experience, education background and other specifications, will yield much better hiring results, from an already small hiring pool.

The need to hire new employees will not disappear any time soon, barring a massive recession. For the foreseeable future, employers will need to have an overall mind shift regarding millennials, training, recruiter fees and employee retention because a good employee is and will continue to be in high demand.