From Leader to Leader: ERC President Kelly Keefe Talks About the Talent Shortage
Every week, I am asked by business leaders and executives where to find qualified workers. It seems companies everywhere are experiencing a talent shortage.
While many blame the pandemic, the truth is the labor market was tightening long before 2020. In fact, the birth rate has been flat since 2008, which means fewer future workers are in the pipeline. In 2020 alone, nearly 29 million baby boomers retired. And today, there are more people leaving the workforce than there are entering it.
While you can’t control these larger-scale issues, you can control where you focus your talent attraction and acquisition efforts. Based on ERC’s data, companies facing hiring challenges should consider reevaluating their job requirements, casting a wider net for applicants, and channeling their resources into the most effective recruitment strategies.
Revaluate Job Requirements
If you’re finding the candidate pool is shrinking, it may be the perfect time to take a hard look at your job qualifications.
A college degree along with three to five years of work experience may not be necessary for every role, especially if the position doesn’t require the knowledge and skills formal education typically yields.
Out of the companies that participated in ERC’s Candidate Experience & Evaluation poll, approximately 98% felt “personality, attitude, motivation, resiliency," and "ability to learn” were ‘important’ or ‘very important’ when evaluating candidates. In contrast, only 38% rated “Education level” ‘important’ or ‘very important.’
Over the past year, skills-based hiring has become a more mainstream approach to finding talent.
Based on another ERC poll, The Latest in Recruitment Strategy (June of 2022), 82% of employers were in the process of using, or actively using, skills-based hiring for all or some open positions.
If your organization is considering skills-based hiring, we recommend the following course of action:
- Get buy-in from hiring managers.
- Consider and plan for how new hires will be onboarded, uptrained, and developed ongoing.
- Make sure your organization has a strong training function or partners in place to train workers.
Cast a Wider Net of Applicants
The quest for attracting more job seekers continues with well-crafted job postings.
Job postings are your first chance to make a great first impression. When done correctly, they can attract a more diverse pool of job applicants.
Award-winning organizations in Northeast Ohio are intentional about leveraging their job postings as a method for furthering their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
They use inclusive and/or neutral language (85%) and only ask for the qualifications and experience necessary to do the job (90%). Over half include their commitment to diversity on their career pages (53%), and they collaborate with community organizations that serve underrepresented populations to broaden the reach of their opportunities (79%).
These strategies improve the likelihood that candidates will feel welcomed and also prevent them from self-selecting out of job opportunities.
Focus on the Most Successful Recruitment Sources
Your success in landing the right candidates also relies heavily on your recruitment strategies and sources.
Based on ERC’s data, online job boards, staffing agencies, an employee referral program, LinkedIn, and word of mouth were the top five most effective strategies in helping organizations find quality job applicants over the past 12 months.
Depending on your industry, your company may find varying degrees of success using these recruitment resources. The key is to track the source of each new hire and determine where you get the greatest return on investment.
Be Purposeful & Intentional to Solve Your Hiring Shortage
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, your organization can take steps now to expand your candidate pool. By being intentional with job requirements, inclusion efforts, and recruitment sources, your company will stand out and stay competitive in a tight labor market.
Kelly Keefe, SHRM-SCP