Olivia Jones, September 7, 2021 | 4 min read

Recruiting Competitively During a Labor Shortage

Finding the right person for your open position is a challenge in the best of times. But during a record labor shortage, in which our country is experiencing both high demand for labor and high unemployment, hiring skilled workers can be even more difficult. A number of factors are contributing to employers’ difficulty in filling empty positions: the increasingly virtual nature of work, wage stagnation and inflation, logistics and supply chain challenges, changes in Americans’ spending behavior, healthy unemployment benefits, and so on. It’s impossible to point to one specific factor to blame, when the current labor shortage crisis is a combination of so many issues and the economic repercussions of the COVID pandemic.

To be competitive, companies have to be able to overcome this unprecedented labor market and snag talent. Here’s a few tips on how to tempt talent to join your organization during this high competition phase.

Offer a higher salary

One of the reasons an employee might choose to leave their job and seek a new position is better compensation. This may be for practical reasons, such as the need to pay for a child’s college tuition or in order to deal with unexpected medical expenses. There may also be other factors at play, such as the decades-long period of stagnating wages in America. With supply chain issues causing inflation and raising the price of necessary goods, Americans are getting less for their money and labor.

For all of these reasons, and many more, a job with a high salary is a strong motivator for employees eager to find a new position. During the height of the pandemic, when unemployment was high, employers were able to hire experienced employees for bottom-of-the-barrel salaries. While economically effective, this practice was certainly morally dubious; moreover, that time is now over. With so many employers competing for the same candidates, you’ll have to raise your salary offer to attract great candidates.

Improve your benefits

A great salary isn’t the only factor that tempts employees to leave their jobs. What other perks and benefits do your employees have access to? Do you offer generous paid family leave? Free snacks and coffee? Fully covered insurance premiums? These things can save your employees time and money. More importantly, they foster a sense of loyalty and well-being at work, which affects retention and improves cohesion.

Today’s job seekers aren’t just looking for a job, they’re also looking to feel good about where they work. For employers, this means it might be worth re-examining what benefits you offer prospective employees. Are you keeping up with today’s evolving standards?

Of course, neither a generous salary nor good benefits will help you keep a star employee if your work culture is poor and management is difficult to deal with. If you can’t keep your employees on board, you might want to look into some of the other common reasons that people leave their jobs.

Remote and flexible work options

During the pandemic, all employees who were capable of working virtually were often required to do so, beginning the largest mass cultural experiment with remote work in our history. Never before has such a large number of people simultaneously attempted to switch from in-person to remote work. After the initial adjustment period, many people adapted to and began to deeply enjoy working remotely, from the lack of commute to the extra time spent with pets, children, and family. Furthermore, many who work in industries where they always believed (or were told) that remote work was not feasible for them have come to see that remote work is not only possible, but ideal.

As more people get vaccinated and some employers ask their employees to return to in-person work, there is increasing resistance from those who have come to enjoy remote work during the pandemic. For many employees, remote work, or at least flexible work options, are a necessity in any job they accept from here forward. If you don’t offer remote work options to potential employees, you’re ruling out a growing segment of job seekers who are utterly uninterested in working in-office.

Recruit from nontraditional sources

You may be able to entirely circumvent perceived labor shortages by getting creative with the sources you recruit from. For many organizations, especially those that rely on word-of-mouth or referrals to find new employees, it’s easy to fall into a rut and let your hiring lapse into a culture of sameness and homogeneity. Often there actually are plenty of qualified candidates out there, you just need to broaden your search a little bit. Are you recruiting from the same universities now that you were twenty or thirty years ago? Do you have an internship program to attract young talent? Have you thought about recruiting at community colleges or looking for nontraditional employees like veteran or small business owners? The perfect candidate could be hiding in plain sight.

Work with a recruitment partner

Finally, the most effective way to find employees in this challenging labor market is to work with a hiring partner. Professional, independent recruiters are highly skilled at finding qualified candidates for your position, no matter how challenging the job market. They can also offer personalized insight about what you need to do to attract your ideal employees. With a recruiting partner, you’ll have more time to focus on final-round interviews and other HR functions, and you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently fill those open roles. 

Tech Talent South offers recruitment services as well as technical training for diverse, nontraditional students new to the tech industry. If you’d like to learn more about what we offer, click here.

With these five tips to hire competitively in a tight labor market, you’re all set to find your new star employee. Best of luck in this difficult labor shortage!