CDI Corporation

Rethinking How to Attract Top Talent in a Tight Candidate Market


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With the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting an unemployment rate down to 2.0 percent for the professional and managerial segment of the workforce, competition for candidates to fill open permanent and contingent positions is accelerating. In fact, a report issued by the National Federation of Independent Business indicates that the share of small businesses with few or no qualified applicants for job openings hit a 17-year high in November, making this segment more open to hiring on a contract basis.

“Given the tight candidate market, employers can no longer solely rely on traditional methods of attracting top talent,” says John Lewis, director of sales operations for CDI Corporation. “Companies today have to approach talent as they would customers – understand their expectations and create recruiting strategies that address these desires.”

Lewis offers the following tips for better connecting with top talent:

Don’t rely only on tried and true social media platforms.
SHRM also reports that 84 percent of organizations use social media for recruiting, and 82 percent of them use it primarily in the hunt for passive candidates. What this high percentage means is that on the most popular social media platforms – LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – you’re vying with your competition for the same pool of expertise.

Instead, venture into platforms that connect to your industry to generate relevant conversations with people who use the platform. If you are impressed by someone’s questions, answers or other posts, you may just have identified a potentially valuable employee or contractor. Stack Overflow, for example, is a question-and-answer site specifically for programmers, while Doximity has a high percentage of users who are U.S. physicians.

Looking for Millennials? Address their specific concerns.
Many companies are not even remotely on the same page with Millennials, and the challenge is to understand what top millennial talent desire now. According to the 2017 Millennial Hiring Trends Study, conducted by CDI subsidiary, MRINetwork, one of the things they want is a highly competitive salary or contract rate. This is in contrast to the assumption organizations often make that Millennials care more about things like mentoring and work-life balance than they do about money. While those things are important, they do not distract them from the compensation issue.

Millennials also place market reputation high on their list of priorities, whether they are considering a long- or short-term commitment. They pay close attention to the overall positioning of a prospective company, in terms of how well the brand is known and respected, how it stacks up to its competitors, and its future growth trajectory, according to the Millennial Study. Distributing positive messaging, both internally and externally, makes the company more attractive to them as an employer of choice.

Improve the application process.
Since there are a lot of opportunities for job candidates in the professional and managerial workforce, companies need to move through the process quickly before talented individuals are snatched by another company. ”Today’s top performers expect a streamlined interview process,” says Lewis. “It’s all about speed and if you have a difficult, slow process, you’re going to lose these candidates who frequently have 2-3 other job offers or contract opportunities.” Basically, candidates want three things: Ease of applying, transparency in the application process and fast response time. “Ultimately it’s not just about evaluating candidates for your organization; you need to sell them on your job opportunities and your company culture.” says Lewis. “Engaging top talent through a positive candidate experience, is a critical step in attracting the best applicants in the environment of a candidate-driven market.”

Recent CDI Analysis

“Given the tight candidate market, employers can no longer solely rely on traditional methods of attracting top talent.”

John Lewis
Director, Sales Operations
CDI Corporation

Employment Situation (U.S.)

The U.S. job market bounced back in April, adding 211,000 nonfarm payroll jobs during the month, according to data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The gains exceeded Bloomberg economists’ prediction of 190,000 jobs added, and followed a weaker-than-expected March that saw 79,000 jobs added, revised down from the previously reported 98,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate fell from 4.5 percent in March to 4.4 percent in April, which is the lowest rate since May 2007, Reuters reported. The unemployment rate has dropped by 0.6 percentage point over the year. The labor force participation rate was relatively unchanged in April at 62.9 percent.

Industry-wise in April: 

  • Professional and business services followed, adding 39,000 positions. Over the year, employment in the industry has expanded by 612,000 jobs.
  • Financial activities employment grew by 19,000, with the gains largely driven by insurance activity. 
  • Mining added 9,000 jobs.
  • Other major industries including construction, information and government saw little change.

Average hourly earnings for all private nonfarm payroll employees increased by 7 cents in April to reach $26.19. A recent government report showed private sector wages had their biggest growth in a decade in the first quarter of 2017, according to Reuters.

With the strengthening employment figures, the Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates later this year.

"Labor market conditions remain robust and continue to tighten," said Chief Financial Economist Ward McCarthy of Jefferies LLC in New York, according to Bloomberg. "This data will keep the Fed on track for a preferred 2017 normalization timeline of rate hikes in June and September and the first step toward balance-sheet normalization in December."

Bloomberg also noted that income gains, particularly in real estate prices and stock, have contributed to a more positive consumer outlook.

The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
clicking here.

Employment Situation (Canada)

Unemployment in Canada fell slightly in April while wage growth slowed, according to data released by Statistics Canada.

The unemployment rate decreased 0.2 percentage points to 6.5 per cent, which is the lowest rate the country has seen in nine years. Some 3,200 jobs were added, which fell short of economists’ expectations for 10,000 jobs gained during the month, the Financial Post reported.

The public sector added 35,200 jobs in April, while the private sector lost 50,500 jobs. Self-employed workers were up, increasing by 18,500 during the month, while full-time employees declined and part-time employees grew by 34,300.

While private-sector employment decreased by 51,000 compared to April 2016, the category has seen year-over-year growth of 1.3 per cent. Public-sector employment has had year-over-year growth of 2.6 per cent.

Educational services led overall employment gains in April, with the industry adding 19,000 jobs. Healthcare and social assistance gained 12,000 positions, while transportation and warehousing added 8,800 jobs.

Business, building and other support services lost 19,000 during the month.

The rate of annual wage increases slowed to 0.7 per cent in April, which is the lowest rate since the late 1990s, the Financial Post reported. Employment activity in Ontario has largely contributed to the slow growth last month, with the province showing year-over-year pay increases of 0.2 per cent.

The source noted that despite otherwise strong market figures, the slowed wage growth will likely sway policy makers at the Bank of Canada to believe economic recovery is not yet complete.

In April, the Bank said that it did not consider an interest rate cut at its last meeting, CTV News reported.

"As we’ve outlined, I think pretty bluntly, that given the circumstances we see, we’re decidedly neutral," said Bank Governor Stephen Poloz.

Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, April 2017

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