The Forever Job Shortage

The Forever Job Shortage

A Proactive Strategy is Your Competitive Advantage

I was recently at the ESOP Association meeting in Denver. The Rocky Mountain chapter of this association consists of more than 90 companies that offer employee stock ownership plans, as well as professional service providers from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

The discussions at this gathering are always fascinating, but I was especially struck by a comment made by Colorado’s governor, Jared Polis. He said that there are two openings for every one unemployed person in Colorado.

That’s a statistic that should make every hiring leader sit up and take notice. There’s been a slight easing in the struggle to fill some available positions, but the data tells us that this is only temporary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. economy is projected to add 4.7 million jobs in the next 10 years, but total employment is expected to grow only 0.3% annually. Over that same decade, the data suggests that labor force participation will shrink from 62.2% to 60.4%.

To simplify the statistics, Baby Boomers are retiring and there are fewer workers in the generations that follow, especially Gen Z.

That’s why we’re hearing a lot of talk about a “forever job shortage,” exemplified by the situation that Governor Polis is seeing in Colorado.

This means that employers and hiring leaders need to think more creatively and strategically about recruiting and retaining top talent.

Traditional methods of job posting will, of course, continue to be used and to have value for filling certain positions. I expect to see increased impact from technology and AI. But that impact—and that recruitment strategy—will matter most to employers who’ve been posting jobs designed to attract people who are actively looking for work.

A future-focused strategy for recruitment involves going after a different candidate pool: passive job seekers and individuals who are currently employed. A Recruitment Research partner should be a key part of this strategy to offer insights and expertise to identify candidates who are in the roles that you want to fill.

The statistics make it clear that top talent will continue to be in demand, so it’s critical to begin to build along-term strategy for proactively approaching the best candidates about opportunities, but that’s only the beginning. It’s also vital to take the next step of building awareness and excitement for the opportunity and for your organization.

This proactive and creative approach to identifying top talent is especially critical for executive recruitment. Given the anticipated challenges hiring leaders are facing now—challenges that will increase in the next few years—it’s a wise use of stretched resources to outsource executive recruitment to a skilled partner who can support the early stages of the search, when expertise at identifying passive candidates can have the most impact. This outsourcing might involve support in creating the recruitment strategy, uncovering those passive candidates, promoting the opportunity, or doing some of the initial interviews and evaluations before the internal executive search team is presented with a final roster of highly qualified candidates from which to choose.

Traditional retained searches are expensive. Recruitment Research is a cost-effective strategy to manage recruiting costs and find candidates who don’t need extensive training or onboarding but can immediately contribute.

We can’t shift the demographic paradigm that is at the heart of the “forever job shortage.” But we can build a strategy to respond proactively, creating a competitive advantage to recruiting and retaining top talent.