Written by Klarn DePalma
Executive Vice President
MNI Targeted Media
The historically high worker shortfall is creating unprecedented challenges for companies. To effectively find the talent you need, it’s important to first understand the social factors creating the labor shortage and, from there, adopt a nuanced approach to recruitment that reflects what prospects really want from a job.
According to September 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), American businesses were struggling to fill 10.9 million vacant positions in July—a record high. They are also struggling to keep the talent they have. The 2021 PwC US Pulse Survey found that 88% of executives are experiencing higher turnover than usual, and 65% of employees surveyed are looking for a new job. To explore the story behind the numbers, MNI sought input from top recruiters, combining qualitative and quantitative research to paint a picture of today’s labor market. Our resulting research report examines the conditions driving the mass employee exodus; what employees really want from a job; and recruiters’ best tips, including out-of-the-box techniques, for finding and retaining talent. Here are just a few of our findings.
Disenchantment with the 9-to-5 workplace is keeping people out of the job market. According to recruiters MNI spoke with when readying its Help Wanted e-book on the topic, manufacturing, hospitality, food service, and health care seem to be the hardest-hit industries. Many companies in these verticals had to lay off employees during the pandemic. Now they are scrambling to refill entry-level and midlevel nonmanagerial positions, but employees who previously held these roles have moved on to more flexible jobs they can perform at home and have new expectations for work/life balance. Or, employees may be unwilling to risk their safety or give up their time at home for a nonmanagerial job salary.
Offering competitive wages can help lure candidates back to the workplace, but businesses will have to think beyond salary. Recruitment experts suggest making it clear to applicants that you are willing to work with them and offering remote work and flexible hours, if possible. Experts also recommend casting a wider net to fill certain positions. Parolees, people with disabilities, and those without degrees are underused resources in a tight labor market.
Another contributor to the labor shortage is the capability gap. In May 2021, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce surveyed economists working for trade associations and found that in a wide range of fields, including farming, construction, health care, hospitality, manufacturing, and IT, finding qualified workers was a huge obstacle. According to experts MNI spoke with, companies have been struggling to find skilled talent since before the pandemic, but the health crisis exasperated the challenge. With that in mind, businesses may need to be prepared to invest in training and skills development. Rather than trying to find a candidate who matches every capability on your wish list, instead look for people with the right personality—people who are nimble, adaptable, and willing to learn.
Other recruitment best practices include keeping the interview process as quick and painless as possible; communicating with every applicant, even those you are not looking to hire at the moment, as needs could change down the line; and exploring every available channel for connecting with job prospects, including digital tools, advertising, networking events, college career fairs, and “old-school” tactics like hanging up job fliers in local establishments.
While these are challenging times for recruitment, there are ways to stand out from other businesses and fill job vacancies. By understanding the factors that have created the labor shortage and the state of mind and motivations of job prospects, you will have a better chance of creating an effective recruitment program.
This article was featured in HR Daily Advisor.
About the Author:
Klarn DePalma, Executive Vice President, joined MNI Target Media Inc. (MNI) in 2018. Under his leadership, MNI is realizing record-breaking earnings and is expanding its reach. It now has offices in over 47 cities nationwide and its sales force is over 80 people strong, serving over 1,200 clients.
He travels extensively to personally further MNI’s mission to provide hands-on, white glove service to its partners.
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In the following paper, MNI explores the social conditions behind the historically high worker shortfall U.S. enterprise is now experiencing. In examining this phenomenon from the recruiters’ point of view, some clear signals have emerged from the noise. Attracting applicants in a tough market requires an ever-more nuanced methodology.