Written by Chris Russell
31st August, 2021
The Talent Shortage (and what to do about it)
The talent shortage currently faced by most employers is at a 15 year high according to one report recently published by the Manpower Group. A quick summary of that report shows the difficulty of filling jobs today;
“Hiring optimism has returned to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic yet that optimism is being tempered by the highest levels of global talent shortages in 15 years with 69% of employers reporting difficulty filling vacancies. European employers are reporting the most difficulty filling open roles with the biggest impacts being felt in France, Romania, and Italy. In the U.S. employers report their most optimistic hiring intentions in more than 20 years, driven by Hospitality & Leisure as states open up.”
And the shortage of talent appears to be here to stay. Korn Ferry says that by 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people.
It’s happening in part due to demographics. There simply isn’t enough new talent to replace the retiring ones. In this country, the majority of baby boomers will have moved out of the workforce by 2030, but people are having less kids which leads to smaller pool of talent.
69% of Employers Can’t Find Enough Talent
The talent shortage, which is generally defined as the disparity between an employer’s hiring needs and what available skills candidates have to offer—has a variety of causes. The global pandemic has become the biggest cause of course, which only exasperated an already tight labor market before it hit.
In 2019 Manpower said 59% of employers could not fill jobs fast enough and that number has increased to 69% in 2021. A significant rise in just two years. Throw in the fact that many office workers want to be remote, at least some of the time, companies are struggling to figure out the right mix. In that same report 8 in 10 workers say they want a better work-life balance. Remote work is the best way they see that happening.
When LinkedIn proposed more in office hours employees pushed back. They quickly changed their minds over worries of turnover and now allow workers to work exclusively from home. Flexible working arrangements appear to be the most coveted of all employee benefits.
But let’s take a look at what else you can do to address the problem.
How to Combat a Talent Shortage
Boost your brand and make culture more visible.
In times like this employers need to rise up above the other employers. You are all hiring so the companies that can create messaging and stories that resonate with active and passive candidates will get more applicants. Give candidates a reason to come work for you and shout it from the rooftops. Use social media, your career site and your job postings to create a unique message that candidates will want to engage with.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your job marketing efforts. Sometimes those experiments can pay off if you think outside the box.
Be proactive – start sourcing.
Employers need to employ proactive strategies such as sourcing candidates on a regular basis to keep the hiring pipeline full. A number of online services can help you do this such as Visage.jobs or Recruiter.com. Or you can simply go the traditional route and hire recruiters or staffing firms to do the sourcing for you. It’s a time intensive strategy but it works if you make the effort.
Empower Internal Mobility.
Leverage your employees to fill talent internally. Talent mobility is a big trend in the enterprise world and we are seeing the major software vendors like Workday and others beef up their internal mobility solutions. Providing employees with a career ladder not only keeps them learning but improves retention rates and even acts as a recruiting tool. By showing potential candidates how they can learn and advance in your organization, employers can attract more talent. Make it a point to have your employees skills in some kind of internal database.
Maintain a viable employee referral program.
Use your employees to spread your hiring message. This is probably the fastest way to increase applicants. By leveraging the social networks of your employees you greatly amplify your recruiting efforts in a way that costs you nearly nothing. Some employers even gasify this strategy by offering rewards and prizes to the employees that do the most sharing. So start creating content and links that your team can easily share and if you need to get some software to help manage it look into some employee advocacy vendors to help you launch that.
Automate you’re hiring process.
When you ask applicants it’s clear that employer communication is lagging. In a recent survey 46.8% of employers said that “unresponsive candidates” (not hearing back from applicants after reaching out) is a top online recruiting pain point. On the other hand, 48.8% of job seekers said the same about employers – they are frustrated with applying for jobs and receiving no response. Moving forward, both parties will need to commit to communicating with one another and say “no” to ghosting if they want to find the right hires and the right opportunities.
Employers need to automate all standard communications and incorporate things like text messaging and interview scheduling to automate as much of the process as they can. Today’s candidates want easier ways to interact with you so take those pain points off the table and automate them.
If anything, the global pandemic has taught us that now is the time to re-think how we attract talent. The workers of today want flexible, trusting work environments that help them blend work and home. The skills shortage may continue but those employers who embrace change in talent acquisition will find themselves ahead in the race for talent.