Where Are All The Job Seekers?

Where Are All The Job Seekers?

This is a conversation we are having daily with clients … it is counterintuitive … unemployment rates are relatively high; shouldn’t that mean that we will have our choice of talented candidates for our open positions?  The answer is yes and no…

While it is true that sadly many workers have been displaced because of the pandemic, it is also true that many talented workers have had to pull themselves out of the job market.  The decision not to search for a position could be due to personal health concerns related to COVID or potential risk to other household members. It also could be that children are at home learning remotely and parents need to be at home with them.  In addition, unemployment has been extended and enhanced, stimulus checks and tax refunds are arriving, and many would-be job seekers have the support they need to stay out of the workforce for now.

The Resulting Recruitment Struggle

While the supply of available workers actively searching has been drastically reduced, demand for those workers in some sectors is high, creating a perfect recruitment storm.  Some employers are seeing a surge in their businesses, whether it is in healthcare, essential supply manufacturers, or other industries that are still able to operate.  Many of their employees are experiencing the same challenges and cannot be at work because of COVID.  Employers need to find replacement workers to supplement while their employees are out for family or medical leaves.  This increase in demand and decrease in supply has resulted in one of the most difficult recruiting markets in recent decades.

What Does All of This Mean for Employers?

For recruiters, this means we must work a little harder, get creative, and do what we do best to source candidates.  For employers it may take a little longer to find the person you need to hire. There are some things employers can do now that may help.

Offer Flexibility to Your Workforce

Employers could consider allowing new employees to work remotely.  We are seeing a surge in the number of candidates looking for remote work options.  If an employer can offer remote work, that could be what makes the difference between hiring help now or going without for a while.   We have also observed that recent graduates are some of the most active job seekers right now.  They may not have the proven track record of more experienced workers, but what they lack in experience they make up for by being smart, eager to learn, and ready to work.  Add in some training and you just might have your next star employee.  This is also the time to double down on retention efforts.  It is important to retain the talent already in your workforce. (For more on retention access this free webinar How to Keep Your Top Talent from Walking Out the Door ).

Keep the Recruitment Process Moving

While conducting the search for a new employee, be prepared to act quickly if you find an excellent candidate.  Now is not the time to slow the search to see if other candidates may surface for comparison purposes.  Candidates are receiving multiple job offers at the same time, taking employers by surprise.  Make sure your process is easy for candidates and that communication is open.  Recruiting is a challenge right now; it is important to remove potential obstacles in the process.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic wand to wave but with some creativity and flexibility you may be able to find the help you need.  Thankfully, there is hope on the horizon.  With vaccines being rolled out and talk of schools reopening, we may start to see more job seekers able to actively search for positions.