According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report released last Friday, 372,000 jobs were added to the economy in June and the unemployment rate remained unchanged from the previous three months at 3.6% — carrying on the streak of the lowest unemployment rate seen since the onset of the pandemic.
The workforce participation rate dipped slightly in June to 62.2%, while the labor force remained mostly unchanged. With the strongest job market seen in 40 years, Hireology customers have been able to continue to build the best teams possible. In June, our customers created 19,424 new jobs, received 401,664 applications, and made 300 more hires than May with 12,553 total hires.
In June, professional and business services led job creation with a total gain of 74,000, followed by the leisure and hospitality sector with 67,000 jobs. Healthcare rose to the third fastest growing industry with 57,000 new jobs added, while transportation and warehousing finished fourth by adding 36,000 jobs.
This data, combined with the slight decrease in hourly wages (0.2%), indicates that federal attempts to control inflation are temporarily working — and stalling the recession that many have predicted for the end of this year.
While this incredibly strong job market has allowed many sectors to add much needed personnel to their staff, there are still industries that are considerably below their pre-pandemic levels. The considerable gains in the leisure and hospitality industries likely helped at the beginning of the busy season, but the restaurants and hotels that compose this segment are still missing 7.8% (1.3 million) of workers that helped operations run smoothly before the pandemic.
The good news is that the recession many have feared would occur doesn’t seem to be taking hold any time soon with this strong labor market. In fact, the labor market itself isn’t giving any current indication that we are on the brink of a recession at all. While candidates still have approximately two jobs to pick from, your business can accomplish the Herculean task of standing above the crowd of competing companies with the right strategies in place.
The threat of a recession has made businesses and employees alike rethink their priorities when it comes to leaving companies or switching roles. While the Great Resignation saw top talent leaving organizations in droves, the pending onset of a recession has had many employees reconsidering the benefits of moving on — making the crux of hiring centered more so on what benefits a new business can offer candidates rather than vice versa.
This shift in perspective is one that has been around since the pandemic, but now there’s even more pressure on businesses seeking to source top talent from elsewhere to prove themselves to candidates as quickly as possible. Again, this is not an impossible task — just one that needs to be approached with careful planning and precision. Read on for our suggestions on how to gain the employees your business needs while the labor market is hot.
Compete in ways other than pay
You wouldn’t apply for a job that was wildly out of your comfort zone, would you? Neither would the talent you want to acquire. When the modern job seeker looks at job descriptions, the first box to check is that the pay is enough to compensate for the work they will be performing and to provide for themselves and their families.
One of the old maxims in business was that in order to attract the best, you had to pay more — but that’s simply not the case anymore. In fact, in our recent applicant survey where over 6,000 job seekers responded, pay wasn’t the top deciding factor when it came to accepting positions. Surprisingly enough, today’s applicants are more interested in the flexibility offered at their new roles because they realistically won’t accept roles that cannot support them financially.
A benefit of offering flexibility — whether that’s in the form of shorter shifts or allowing employees to pick their own hours — is that your business can tap into the pool of parents and caregivers who want to work, but other responsibilities prevent them from being able to. According to the recent BLS report, 11,000 workers were added to children’s daycare centers while nursing and residential care facilities increased by 8,000. For businesses seeking to lessen the gap between current employment and pre-pandemic levels, this is one segment of the labor force that desperately needs flexibility in order to be able to work like they want to.
Let the candidate see a future
The Great Resignation saw hundreds of thousands of workers leaving their roles in search of greener pastures, whether that was in the gig economy or with other companies. With the anticipation of an upcoming recession looming in everyone’s mind, there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future. Job seekers are more hesitant to leave the positions they’re in for fear of things turning south in the economy — meaning they’re also less likely to accept roles that they can’t see a safe and stable future in.
Turnover rates have been incredibly high, making retention efforts something that every business should consider strengthening. One simple way to do this is by allowing candidates a glimpse into what their future could look like on your career site. Highlighting career pathways of employees who have risen through the ranks at your business on your website gives applicants reassurance that it is possible to have a fulfilling and long lasting career with you.
When candidates can see clear efforts to retain employees, there’s a sense of reassurance that comes with knowing that your organization not only sees the value in employees, but empowers them to learn more and become better in their roles. In a time when tomorrow isn’t promised, this can mean the difference between accepting your role or one of the other ones on the table.
Move quickly in the hiring process
Talent waits for no one — but this especially applies in this red hot hiring market. With two roles available for every job seeker, your business doesn’t have the luxury of time on your side. In fact, if you take longer than two weeks from initially receiving an application to offering the candidate a role, you’re missing out on nearly a third (31%) of top talent.
Job seekers simply do not have to wait to hear back from companies, which has significantly altered their expectations when it comes to initial contact from companies. According to recent data, 23% expect to hear back from a company within 48 hours of submitting an application, while 57% stated that initial contact within a week was acceptable.
One way to decrease the amount of time it takes to contact interested applicants is to consider the method of communication you use during the interview process. Applicant tracking systems that offer texting as a means of candidate communication can allow you to reach top talent before your competitors even have a chance — especially if they’re still relying on email. This isn’t an unwelcome communication channel for applicants either; up to 90% of job seekers said they’d be willing to text with recruiters if it meant speeding up the hiring process.
Source applicants from multiple pools
With this surge in the labor force, there’s more talent to source from. The question now is if your applicant sources are performing in the way that your business needs them to.
At Hireology, we suggest a multipronged approach when it comes to gathering applicants along with careful analytics to make sure that you’re putting your money into channels that are delivering the results you need. The first step in this approach is to enhance the SEO value of your job descriptions so that search engines can pick them up from the various job boards you use and populate your open roles into job seekers’ results. The second step is to spread your job post onto as many relevant job boards as possible; it’s worth noting that while there are niche job boards for each industry, we suggest utilizing general job boards as well to gain as many applicants as possible.
The last step in this approach is touching up your employee referral program. Good people know good people — and it’s likely that you already have a few employees on your team that you wish you could clone. Tap into this pre-existing network of former colleagues, friends, and classmates by offering equitable payouts and internally advertising the program whenever possible. This could be implemented in different ways depending on your business, but taking the time to hang a poster with a QR code that employees can simply scan and enter contact information for people they think would be a good fit for the roles needed can make more of an impact than you would think. Another way to push your employee referral program could be having one member of your hiring team addressing the company during an all-hands meeting with the role they’re currently seeking to fill; you can use the QR code again here during the presentation for simple submissions.
June’s Jobs report demonstrated an incredibly strong labor market despite the fear of an upcoming recession. In addition to competing with more businesses than ever for the same talent pool, companies now must prove the security nets that they can offer applicants quickly in order to keep them interested. This is most certainly a difficult task, but it can be made easier by using other benefits rather than pay to compete for candidates, giving candidates a glimpse into their future with your company, moving quickly in the hiring process, and sourcing applicants from as many wells as possible.
For more insight on how to speak to candidates in a way that they understand, check out our latest applicant study, The Great Reassessment, where over 6,000 job seekers shared their current expectations in this hiring market.