The tightest labor market in 50 years has brought us new challenges and trends, some of which are worth paying careful attention. Here are four trends we are following—and some our clients are experiencing.
Ghosting: Ghosting is when a candidate interviews or accepts a position with your company and then, like a ghost, disappears into thin air. Our experience tells us that there are different reasons the candidate disappeared.
First, some younger candidates are conflict averse, and when offered a position they accept it, even when they know they aren’t right for the position or don’t want it. Second, because it’s our business to understand why people refuse work, we know that many candidates who are serious about looking for work have multiple offers, and accept one offer only to be given a better offer soon thereafter.
When the number of jobs exceeds the number of people looking for work, the balance of power is so much in their favor that there is no adverse consequences for bailing out of a job (or a potential job).
Quitters Win: People who quit their positions to take another position are starting at higher rates than the position they leave.
Employees who have gained the experience and skills they need to be worth more on the open market are now taking advantage of their position. The number of people quitting now exceeds the number of people being fired, a rare occurrence. The rule of supply and demand is at work here; when the demand exceeds the available supply, prices increase (something you might remember from your Freshman economics class, even if you haven’t seen it in the labor market).
Downskilling: Remember how your parents told you to get a college degree so you could get a good job? You may be telling your children the same thing (something we still believe is a very good idea, with proof of the ROI).
Because the labor market is so tight, some companies are reducing their hiring requirements. Many companies, including some of the tech giants like Google, are no longer requiring a college degree. The change here is important to note as it pertains to something we have long believed here, namely, the value of the intangibles is undervalued and isn’t given the weight it deserves in hiring decisions (think attitude, initiative, resourcefulness, team player, etc.)
Baby Boomers Leaving: Around 10,000 Baby Boomers retire every day in America. That’s 300,000 a month, or close to 4,000,000 a year. If we add around 210,000 new jobs a month, we are going to be increasingly upside down for quite a long while.
The rub here is that the Baby Boomers have been working for a long time, and they have experience and skills that are going to be difficult to replace. That experience and the accompanying skills was developed over a long period off time, and it’s going to take an equal amount of time and resources to skill up the generations just entering the workforce now.
These trends indicate systemic challenges that may be with us for some time. When the winds change directions, it’s time to trim your sails.