Pat Brien | Apr 14, 2022
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” – Charles Dickens wasn’t thinking about 21st century recruitment when he wrote that famous line, but it’s a sentiment that fits like the perfect candidate.
And its retention rate is looking great.
Recruiter salaries, adjusted for inflation, had jumped 14% by the end of 2021 from the year before, according to Revelio Labs. High demand for jobs, driven by the pre-pandemic “job hopping” trend, soon joined by the “great resignation”, has greatly increased the need for talented recruiters and, at the same time, put them under tremendous strain.
How recruiters have coped with the seismic disruptions to our working lives over the last two years is anybody’s guess: Resilience? Ability to adapt? The famously focused mindset of the “fast on your feet” professional? Zero choice? (Other than to join the great resignation themselves?)
Either way, they weathered the storm courageously and have possibly created new opportunities in their own careers as a result. Well deserved, if it happens.
Hiring was never easy and recruiters are (quickly) evolving.
Turmoil and Talent
The labor market, to be blunt, is in turmoil, and recruiters would be increasingly useful as professional advisors, or project managers, within hiring teams, from the earliest stages of hiring considerations.
Today’s recruiter certainly needs to advise companies on how to attract and keep talent. Established, growing and ongoing hiring and retention issues have created a gap in the market, with recruiters being the best qualified to fill it.
Questions arising around talent optimization internally, and the talent market externally, are the long-term stomping ground of recruiters. Why look elsewhere for answers? Instead of handing down requirement orders to be fulfilled, fulfilling recruiter potential by making them part of the initial discussions on requirements for roles, profiles, etc., could lead to great results.
Recruiters are your perfect fit talent advisor candidate. Own it.
Getting On Top of “Under Pressure”
The sheer pressure of skyrocketing competitiveness for talent, soaring hiring demand, and the need to adapt to – and adopt new ways to meet – new attitudes to employment expectations from candidates has been shocking in its power. To gain the upper hand, talent acquisition leaders have found themselves in a leading business position, central to selling the company brand, attracting the best talent, and increasing fast decreasing retention rates among companies.
The Ongoing State of Retention Rates
SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), published a report in 2021 stating that over 40% of American workers are either actively seeking a new job, or have plans to do so. There’s no need to point out how staggering this number is, and probably no surprise to state that the number doubled from 2019.
BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), states that 4 million people quit their jobs in July 2021. Resignations had peaked at 2.7% in both June and July 2021 — with a new record set for available jobs in the US at the close of July – 10.9 million.
In February 2022, 4.4 million people quit their jobs, but new hires moved up to 6.7 million, according to BLS, all of which only continues the new reality of “The Great Reshuffle”. There were an estimated 1.8 jobs for every unemployed person in February.
Reasons, Recruitment and Results
According to SHRM’s report, the top reasons given for leaving jobs by employees were:
- Better compensation
- Work-life balance
- Improved benefits
- Career advancement
- Career change
The list indicates, at least in the top four, that employees were becoming unhappy in their jobs and seeing better opportunities elsewhere. The final item appears to imply a general feeling of restlessness; a need for change in a quickly changing world. After all, if the world is disrupted to the point where daily routines are battered or shattered, why cling to the same spot?
Why be tossed aimlessly around when you can leap in any direction by dint of will?
It’s also possible that the first four in the list were heavily influenced by exactly the same feelings that gave rise to the final entry, which could sensibly raise the question: What seismic shift is coming down the pike next?
Outside of the finance industry, corporations have enjoyed their best profits for decades, so there is the opportunity to increase salaries and benefits to attract talent and gain long-term growth from the investment; but, like any investment, the question is: Will it pay off?
It appears so far that higher wages and better benefits aren’t attracting enough unemployed workers back into the workplace. Ironically, as this happens, the result is the offering of even greater pay, more offers of increased benefits, and so on.
And while the increased offers don’t appear to be getting those on the sidelines back into work, the result, for short-term survival, is more work loaded onto the shoulders of those still bothering to show up – until they can’t take it any more, leave, then find themselves being offered more money, more benefits, for jobs they’ve learned to hate.
Little wonder that manager burnout was bad and getting worse late into 2021.
Flexibility Is Stability
The “throw money at it” problem-solution technique aside, many smart recruiters are becoming increasingly attuned to what candidates want – a shift in attitudes from candidates becoming a sharp shift in focus from the recruiter. Some are studying where people are leaving in high numbers, with a view to building relationships in those spaces.
Whatever is top of mind for that hard to get candidate tops the list for hiring and retention. What is top of mind for forward-thinking recruiters is candidate/employee experience, not checklists of demands skillfully completed.
And it’s entirely possible that flexibility rather than finance will be the winning card. In that sense, employers and employees may have common ground. The sharp rise in remote work in the first quarter of 2022 may indicate that employers, absent a crystal ball, want the most stable environment possible for long-term growth; and employees seem to want the same.
Flexibility is the new stability. Or the closest thing we have.
The Evolution of Hiring
Not surprisingly, many are now predicting that 2022 will get harder, not easier, with remote work choices and remote interviews making job change more accessible than it’s ever been, at least for those who still wish to work – meaning competition for jobs will continue to increase.
And organizing, hiring, training, encouraging and retaining talent in a remote world raises a lot of questions, and presents a lot of issues, in and of itself.
Just because the initial sense of urgency starts to die down as recruiters scramble successfully to adapt, doesn’t mean the recruiter’s job will become easier as a result.
It won’t – but what it should do is evolve.