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Virtually every HR professional has been there — a lucrative and exciting position they’re sure will garner plenty of interest remains vacant for weeks and even months on end. Even as resumes trickle in, recruiters often find themselves settling for less-than-ideal candidates to keep current employees’ workloads under control.
A 2012 CareerBuilder report1 showed that a whopping 43 percent of respondents have made what they feel was a “bad hire” because of the pressure to fill a role quickly. Recruiters know the consequences of lowering their hiring expectations — under-qualified candidates can cost an organization thousands in lost revenue, and that’s on top of the astronomical cost of recruiting, hiring and training a new employee.
So how can HR professionals maintain the upper hand in attracting and keeping top-quality talent for their organizations? The first step is understanding exactly why perfectly good roles are so difficult to fill. When determining your organization’s recruitment game plan, consider these five reasons why your company’s job postings are still vacant.
A booming economy and record-low unemployment rate puts the control in job seekers’ hands.
Today’s economy is very different today than it was just a few years ago — current Bureau of Labor Statistics data puts the national unemployment rate just below 4 percent. Of course, industries that require specialized skill sets or education have an even lower unemployment rate, with some sectors (like science and IT) at a rock-bottom 2 percent.
While a strong economy is great news for just about everyone, record-low unemployment does make recruiting qualified talent much more challenging. Not only are qualified candidates that are actively seeking new employment harder to find, but a wealth of other opportunities means your own employees are more likely to move onto other positions. For HR professionals, this creates pressure for recruitment as well as retention efforts, and hardly enough time to effectively manage both.
Sub-par employer branding and a frustrating recruitment process deters applicants even before they interview.
A strong economy puts additional strain on recruiters to not only offer competitive perks and benefits packages (two things they don’t always have total control over), but also to provide a better experience throughout the recruitment process.
In fact, a recent LinkedIn survey revealed2 that companies with a strong “employer brand” can reduce the total cost-per-candidate by 43 percent. Plus, many popular job sites like Glassdoor report not just on experiences working with a company, but also the application and interview experience as well — putting additional pressure on HR professionals to treat even early-stage candidates with the same care and attention as they do tenured employees.
Companies are reluctant to do away with rigid education requirements for specialized positions.
While a college education used to be a prerequisite for a professional role, things are quickly changing in the face of a booming economy. Record low unemployment rates and skyrocketing college tuition are leading specialists in a variety of roles to pursue fast-track certifications and on-the-job training in lieu of traditional four-year college degrees.
In response, plenty of major companies are relaxing the educational barrier to entry — Google, Ernst & Young and Apple have all recently announced that they no longer require employees to have a college degree. Meanwhile, smaller companies are reluctant to follow suit, fearing that these changes will open the floodgates for under-qualified applicants.
Of course, there’s plenty of research that suggests firsthand experience trumps academic training for many specialized roles. In fact, a comprehensive 2017 study by Harvard Business School3 found that college grads in mid-level positions cost employers more, have higher turnover rates, are less engaged and are no more productive than people with only a high school diploma in the exact same role. It would be wise to consider how your educational requirements might be holding you back from hiring the best talent.
Healthcare organizations struggle to compete on employee perks and benefits.
Virtually every industry is competing for the most qualified candidates, with many organizations upping the ante on employee benefits and perks as a means for attracting talent. Since some companies don’t have the budgets to increase base salaries, many have had to get creative about how they attract new recruits.
According to a Fractl survey, low-cost benefits like flexible schedules, remote work options and unlimited PTO are among the most sought after, behind only comprehensive health benefits. Yet, many companies are reluctant to introduce new HR policies for fear that lax PTO and remote working policies will attract under-performers. The data disagrees, though — greater flexibility and better benefits packages stave off employee disengagement, which is estimated to cost businesses $450 million per year.
These days, a competitive salary just isn’t enough to attract top talent. A creative take on perks and benefits can be the difference between zero qualified candidates and dozens of them.
Baby Boomers are retiring in droves — and companies are struggling to recruit new workers to replace them.
The Baby Boomer generation was the heart and soul of the American working class for decades, but those times are changing. An estimated 10,000 boomers retire every day in the United States while significantly fewer people are graduating from college or actively seeking new employment. Simply put, an aging population that’s transitioning out of the workforce is leaving a critical knowledge gap in an already challenging economy.
Add this to the notable differences in expectations between older and younger professionals, and it’s a perfect storm for recruiters. While average job tenure has actually remained fairly static since the 1980s, younger workers from all generations have a shorter job tenure than those that are older (for workers aged 25 – 34, that average is about 2.9 years).
In order to fill vacancies across an organization, HR professionals have to account for the natural tendency for younger workers to job hop while still positioning their organization to attract this soon-to-be dominant generation in the workforce.
Organizations lack accelerated training programs, or simply cannot afford them.
Training is a critical element in recruitment and talent retention efforts, since any specialized role will naturally require unique skills that aren’t common among job-seekers. This is especially true as more workers eschew traditional education and the debt it entails, and opt for more on-the-job experience in order to grow professionally.
But with turnover on the rise, HR professionals need to put speed at a premium for their in-house training efforts. Unfortunately, accelerated training programs often require time and resources than an internal HR team simply doesn’t have, putting onboarding and continued professional development (which is a top concern for many young workers) at risk.
Amid a quickly-changing recruiting landscape, HR professionals and recruiters face major challenges on the road ahead. While attracting top-tier talent for specialist roles is certainly a challenge, there are plenty of things you can do to when your organization’s key roles go unfilled.
Seeking out specialized support can drastically reduce your recruitment time and effort, and prove a worthy investment for your organization’s future. Contact our team to find out how LINK can help you combat the challenges of today’s competitive landscape.