We are in the most unique labor market I have ever seen. While there is clearly an abundance of people on the market either unemployed or under-employed, jobs are taking longer to fill and hiring managers are frustrated they can’t find the “right person.” Investment dollars are scarce so these employers are holding out for the candidate who is a safe bet to make an immediate impact.
The issue is rooted deeply in the changing patterns of how work gets done globally. Skills and specific experiences have the upper hand. Work in the US has undergone a steady shift over the last 20 years. Work requiring sweat but little experience has, for the most part, shifted to other parts of the globe or been replaced with technology.
The new environment requires new (and old) approaches to recruiting and finding jobs. It is all about matching the skills to the job. My view is that employers are not focused enough on attracting and retaining these hard to find skills. There is a perception, I believe, that talent is abundant and therefore the candidate should be grateful that I called. The truth is far from it.
If you look at unemployment rates by education (which I am using as a proxy for skills) you will see my point. The unemployment rate for unskilled, relatively untrained or uneducated workers is well over 15% while the rate for degreed (skilled) professionals is an un-recession like 5%.
So what do you do?
If you are looking for a job…Get training, leverage the skills you have or go back to school to pursue skills you are interested in. This issue isn’t going anywhere, in fact it’s will become more acute.
If you are looking for skilled talent, you must start thinking of the skilled worker as scarce not abundant. You need to pay more, make sure the environment is right and show them both a career path and learning opportunities. Remember, skills rule the day.
Senior Vice President, Company-Owned Operations
TRC Staffing Services