Attracting and Retaining Talent in the Face of Low Unemployment

Posted: 05/30/2019 - 03:30
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that employers outperformed forecasts in April by introducing over 260,000 new jobs. This growth, coupled with near-record unemployment is a double-edged sword for American organizations. Though it’s a positive sign for the economy as a whole, low unemployment and a wealth of job openings leave business leaders in a tough position. The fight for attracting top talent is increasingly crowded and competitive. What’s more, candidates have come to expect more in the way of compensation and additional value adds. 
Employers have to challenge themselves and devise a new approach to recruiting, hiring and empowering their teams. To successfully secure and hold on to top talent, they’ll need to successfully position themselves as a unique employer, capable of providing an exceptional experience and set of incentives.  
Increasing Wages...Or Finding Unusual Alternatives
The simplest reaction to the higher demand would be to raise wages. On a yearly basis, wages and salaries have risen 3.1 percent, an anomaly in the last decade. Companies are racing to find and maintain talent by offering the best earnings in their industry. This is obviously not an option for every employer. Small and mid-sized organizations can’t offer the same compensation packages as household names. And they shouldn’t try to do so. More and more, today’s professionals value authenticity in their employers. It’s possible they’ll appreciate a company that’s transparent about what it’s incapable of providing. These companies should instead emphasize what sets them apart – what their more well-heeled competitors cannot provide. Some of these incentives might include exciting project work, opportunities for advancement, the chance to take part in socially responsible initiatives, etc.
Casting a Wider Net
In 2017, the MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study found that recruiters and hiring managers were both beginning to embrace candidates with non-traditional degrees. Nearly half of surveyed employers suggested they saw no difference between online degrees and traditional four-year education.  Unemployment has only gone down and job openings have only gone up since that time. For procurement, this could mean looking for talent in outside business units, developing talent pipelines within universities or building programs to hire military veterans. Redefining requirements does not have to mean lowering expectations. The sooner organizations learn this, the sooner they can answer the evolving talent question. 
Promoting Flexibility
A different avenue is to engage individuals who may have dropped out of the labor market with opportunities like flexible work arrangements or career resource services. Flexibility has rapidly jumped up the list of worker demands. Providing flexible opportunities – the chance to work remotely, design schedules or develop unique roles, for example – will undoubtedly help employers stand out in the hunt for leading talent. Organizations will also need to develop a more flexible approach to the way they organize and engage with their internal teams. A blended workforce with a mix of contingent and full-time resources could provide procurement teams with the support they need to address busy periods without seeing their payrolls balloon out of control.
In summary, this high demand for labor is continuing to force employers to decide on how to balance needs with function as job seekers take advantage of a tight labor market. Workers are now passively and actively searching for better job opportunities even if they are currently employed, leading to volatile labor workforces. This instability has been a reason for the higher turnover rates that employers have recently seen. As employers adapt to the current market to recruit, retain and engage their employees, they must consider how the market will change and explore potential options to stay ahead of the competition.

About The Author

Michael Vu's picture

Michael Vu is a Strategic Sourcing Analyst at Source One, a Corcentric Company. A recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he has a history of data management and statistical analysis on and off the research bench. He is a fresh talent in the Source One team, helping companies strategize their supply chain and logistics management practices. Proactive in consulting engagement, he has a proven record of engaging clients and suppliers alike in handling procurement and strategic sourcing.