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5 Challenges Facing Hiring Managers in the Current Labor Market

Human Resources, Hiring, Recruitment...

For the past twenty years, reesmarx has earned an international reputation as a leading recruitment service provider for SMEs and international corporate businesses. Through our business solutions network, we provide expert recruitment in thirty countries and onsite support for businesses who are building teams in new markets, including Asia Pacific, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Americas and the United Arab Emirates.

If your business has recently experienced difficulty hiring for one or more strategic roles, you are not alone.  There are several new factors that are suppressing both the search and acquisition of talented professionals for businesses in virtually every product and service niche.  In this article we will explain some of the challenges facing in-house hiring managers.

1. Low Unemployment Rate

For decades businesses have become used to an employer driven labor market.  During the economic recessionary periods, there were more qualified applicants and fewer full-time jobs for skilled professionals.  Employers had the convenience of choosing from a large volume of high calibre and experienced candidates.

The slow but steady global economic recovery has produced some of the lowest unemployment rates within the past decade.  Today, there are fewer applicants looking for work or willing to leave their current employers for a new opportunity.  Retention in many niche industries and career specialties are higher today than ever before.

What that means for employers is that it is taking more time to find the right fit, particularly in high-demand areas such as technology and executive leadership roles.   Organizations are finding that they must offer lifestyle and corporate culture incentives to attract the best quality candidates. 

2. Lack of Experienced Candidates in the Local Region

Have you ever wondered why some of the most obscure unknown cities begin to market themselves as the next technology hub?  While major metropolitan areas are known for having plentiful job opportunities, with higher salary levels (thanks in part to the higher cost of living that employees can expect).

Today, many alternative cities have acknowledged that failure to attract IT or technology talent, can substantially stifle the growth and new business investment in the region.  Balancing the labor pool means creating incentives for both businesses to ‘set up shop’ within the city, attracting large global companies like Apple, Google or Microsoft.  The lack of experienced candidates in the local region can be a big problem for businesses who want talent onsite, and not remote contract workers.

3. Competition from Larger Organizations

While start-up organizations offer so many benefits, including a depth of technical, marketing and promotional experiences building a brand from the ground up, most candidates prefer to work for established and larger corporations.   The longer a business has been around, the more job security it can offer, according to the common sentiment among job seekers.

We also know that large organizations with even larger overhead and staffing can be more at risk for downsizing and layoff’s than a small or medium sized business.  Nonetheless, small and medium sized companies are under constant competition with large and internationally recognized businesses, who benefit from the prestige and attract candidates easily.

4. The Demand for Flexible Work Hours 

As the global workforce continues to evolve, and as socioeconomic pressures impact career professionals aged 35-50, we see a growing trend and demand for flexible work hours.   For some organizations this can mean hot desking and shared in-office space while allowing some employees (depending on tenure and job activities) to work from home for part of the week. 

The ability to work from home at least part-time, presents a number of both lifestyle benefits and accommodations, as well as financial savings for professionals.  First, it enables workers to be able to mitigate the needs of family members, children and elderly parents without having to take time away from work.  Daytime appointments that are mandatory can be scheduled where the employee has the flexibility to organize their office hours.

There are three main types of flexible workplace and service hour accommodation models:

a) Compressed Work Week

By increasing the hours of work daily and compressing the workweek from the traditional five-days to a four or sometimes three day per week schedule, employers can offer the same salary rate while acquiring the same level of productivity.  In some studies where a four-day work week was offered, employees on the compressed schedule were more productive, and experienced less absenteeism, while reporting increased job satisfaction.

There are many aspects of daily living that the standard five-day work week impedes.  From being able to participate in class trips, to seeing to medical needs for self or family members during business hours, the accommodation can be very appreciated by employees, who work harder and more concisely to retain the benefit and schedule flexibility.

b) Day Flexible Schedule

While some employers set a standard schedule for office hours with a specific start and finish time, other employers choose to use the honor system with their employees (or select employees depending on department and role).   A day flexible schedule allows the worker to start within a specified window of time (1-2 hours earlier or later in the day) with the understanding that they will complete the full 8 hour-day based on their start time.

Who does this benefit? This kind of flexibility is particularly appreciated by employees who are parents, as it allows them to have a later start in the morning, while seeing to the needs of their family, and getting children off to school.  It sounds like a small concession, but for parents it can mean the difference between quality time in the morning with their family, and securing before and after school daycare, which can be costly and inconvenient.

c) Self-Determined In-Office Schedule

We see this model frequently for executive level professionals, who have set KPI’s that they are directly accountable for.   Employees with a long tenure within the organization and industry experience may be permitted to self-govern the hours that they put in at the office, combined with telecommuting. This is also common for sales and marketing executives who may travel extensively as part of their role.

As many companies and job opportunities are available in metropolitan areas where the cost of living is higher, workers that are permitted flexible hours and work-from-home opportunities can save a substantial amount of time, energy and money bypassing the daily grind of a long commute by car or public transit.  

Some studies have shown that employees who are provided with flexible scheduling, work-from-home (telecommuting) opportunities have higher productivity levels and longer tenures with the organization.  It is a retention strategy that has worked successfully for many corporations and SMEs.

5. Self-Employment Opportunities

If flexible work hours are attractive to the most talented and experienced professionals, the idea of autonomy and self-employment is even more attractive.   The freelance economy grew as a result of the low labor demand during the last global economic recession; it was harder to find jobs, there were fewer jobs being posted, and the most talented employees got innovative when it came to marketing their skills to prospective employers on a contract basis.

Today, while unemployment rates are low, the number of self-employed solopreneurs, consultants and service providers (particularly in marketing, sales and web development) remain high.  Businesses have embraced the freelance service provider as an economical option to hiring a full-time employee. 

While many professionals may freelance ‘on the side’ to augment their full-time employer-based income, many talented and skilled workers are earning more than their salaried counterparts within their shared industry. 

Non-competition agreements that are mandatory as part of the hiring process, can eliminate part-time freelancers and discourage them from applying for lucrative corporate roles, if they feel the salaried contract will impede their ability to earn extra during their off hours as an independent contractor.

 

If you have experienced difficulty recruiting the talent your business needs, contact us to schedule a meeting and evaluation of your hiring needs.  We connect talented and experienced candidates to high-growth businesses, and our recruiters will help you build an effective team that gets results.