Job market expected to get hotter — and harder for employers

job marketStrong job growth and low unemployment have created a talent crunch for U.S employers.

Employers everywhere are frustrated. There are simply not enough qualified candidates to fill 5.9 million job openings.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, our national unemployment rate continues to remain below 5%, signaling full employment in the economy.

Even with entry-level hiring slowing to normal levels from its 2015 peak, new job growth continues to outpace the supply of available candidates.

New for 2016 is an accelerating demand for mid- to senior-level job candidates. Robust demand for experienced workers can be expected to continue into 2017.

Whereas entry-level, low paying jobs fueled our economic recovery, we have now reached a point where job market dynamics have shifted to include the mid-level to senior-level experienced worker.

These job market realities are benefiting workers across industries and occupations. Those with specialized skill sets — particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) — are benefiting the most.

But across the board, from trade worker to business professional, it’s a job candidate-driven market.

The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), released in September, reported a record number, 15-year high, of employees quitting their jobs for other jobs. This is further evidence of the strength and confidence in our current job market.

Good news for job seekers but bad news for employers. The fight for talent has led employers to use higher wages to attract the job candidates they desperately need. The JOLTS report shows those accepting new jobs received an average pay increase of 4.5% versus 3% if they stayed where they were.

There are many job market dynamics at play that have created our current talent crunch. It’s not as simple as new job creation outpacing available job candidates. There are many occupations that no longer attract the quantity of individuals employers need.

Neal Asbury of Made In America, who also operates several manufacturing plants across the U.S., said he has “a really hard time finding workers with skills in computer design and manufacturing, machinists and tool and die markers. These are high paying jobs that go unfilled because there is such a stigma about attending vocational or trade school.”

Beyond manufacturing and trades, there are many individuals who remain underemployed and out of the workforce (e.g., disconnected youth; stay-at-home-moms, stay-at-home-dads, the long-term unemployed) and retirees.

Many employers have reached the point where competing for experienced workers with higher wages has become unaffordable. They are now turning to retirees, parents who are ready to return to work, underserved populations who need assistance returning to the workforce, and hiring inexperienced job candidates with the ability rather than the experience to do a particular job.

To address the supply side of the job market, employers need to consider programs that provide pathways for inexperienced job candidates who “can do” and are motivated to learn how to do certain jobs.

Leadership Development and mentorship programs are a terrific way to build and train the talent so desperately needed and absent in today’s job market.

Lisa Carnoy, New York City Market President of Bank of America, has done exactly that at her firm. She described an impressive 18-month training program where they selected individuals with the business acumen and competencies to be private bankers who had no prior experience.

So far, the program has shown great promise in preparing and producing financial advisors at Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust, both parts of Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management division.

Carnoy expects companies to continue the hiring trend, which is consistent with what many clients of The WorkPlace Group are telling us. She shared that about one-third of U.S. Trust clients have business expansion plans that include hiring additional workers, and adds that their hiring and expansion plans range across industries such as IT, healthcare, energy, and consumer products.

Based on Bank of America’s Small Business Owner Report, rising health care costs, government policies and geopolitical concerns are the main factors holding employers back from expanding and growing even faster.

Paid youth employment programs that connect young people to education, training and the job market are another effective way to keep youth on a trajectory for future success and to help fill the gaps where demand outpaces supply.

For example, Bank of America recently announced a $40 million commitment to connecting 100,000 teens and young adults to the skills and employment experiences needed for 21st century jobs.

In New York City, funding will support programs like Green City Force, which trains youths living in public housing on environmental service projects in high-need neighborhoods; TechConnect, the New York Public Library’s technology training initiative that teaches job seekers digital literacy; and Per Scholas, a technology workforce development organization to build relationships with employers.

When it comes to recruiting the people employers need, our current job market requires going beyond job ads. Today’s candidates use multiple sources to identifying job opportunities and make decisions about where to apply and work. Employers need recruiters who can source and outreach to candidates.

But outreach alone is not enough. Candidates have so much choice in the job market that companies’ social media sites, tweets, corporate career portals, and employment brand matter more than ever.

Employers need to ensure candidates have exceedingly satisfying hiring experiences and are impressed with their employment brand. Otherwise, candidates will not accept their job offers.

Source: www.nydailynews.com