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The U.S. labor market continues to expand, and in 2015, 230,000 new jobs has been the monthly average. Many companies are in growth mode, focusing on key strategic hires to support this expansion. At the same time, a great deal of attention is being placed on engaging and retaining top performers that will ultimately join forces with new permanent and contingent hires to build a stronger, more dynamic blended workforce.
Despite this focus on harnessing quality skilled talent, companies are finding that recruitment and retention are increasingly problematic, especially in the professional sector. This is due to the candidate-driven market, an environment in which top candidates have the upper hand because of more available job opportunities and growing shortages of highly specialized talent. As high performers have multiple job offers or contract opportunities to consider and the ability to reject less desirable work situations, employers are faced with making fundamental changes to their recruitment and talent management strategies to gain greater access to the brightest talent in 2016 and beyond.
New data from CDI subsidiary, MRINetwork’s most recent Recruiter Sentiment Study, indicates that the candidate-driven market, which has experienced a consistent uptick since 2011, is at an all-time high. The biannual employment landscape survey of global MRINetwork recruiters, finds that 90 percent of respondents feel the professional sector is candidate-driven, a fact that remains unchanged from survey findings in the first half of 2015.
Additionally, top performers continue to reject job offers. Forty-four percent of participants listed “accepted another offer” as the primary reason for offer rejections, up from 37 percent in the first half of 2015. Low compensation packages and counteroffers were also top reasons for turndowns.
The candidate-driven market and offer rejections are nothing new. As companies increasingly concentrate on recruitment of skilled, strategic talent, they face the dilemma of properly vetting candidates, while also creating a streamlined, engaging applicant experience that top candidates have come to expect. Then add to that the need to engage and retain top performers. With more employees looking for new opportunities and companies forced to prioritize their retention efforts, recruitment must now compete with retention, despite the desire to bring on new talent.
There are possible signs of recruitment slowing behind retention when we look at how long it takes to get an offer. In previous years of the survey, recruiters reported that most offers were being extended between 1-4 weeks of the candidate’s first interview. In the most recent survey, recruiters say job offers are now being presented between 3-6 weeks. Additionally counteroffers are rising, up two percentage points from the first half of 2015. These trends have emerged, in spite of recruiter recommendations since 2011 to expedite the hiring process and provide more competitive compensation packages to avoid losing “A” players.
So what will employers need to do differently in 2016?
Create a more candidate-centric experience that demonstrates your interest in the potential new hire vs. just trying to see how interested the applicant is in your organization.
“Candidates want quicker and simplified ways to apply for openings and go through the interview process, yet employers and HR departments make the simple process of applying for one of their openings more complicated,” said a recruiter responding to the study.
Consider the entire hiring process from the candidate’s standpoint, from the time they apply for the position to the start of onboarding. What does the process look like when you consider the level of interaction and communication from your staff? What does it say about the organization, the company culture and the work environment that the future hire can expect? Above all, what lasting impression does the process leave with candidates?
Recent CDI Analysis
“Despite being in a heavily candidate-driven market for several years, most companies still follow antiquated hiring practices, even for critical positions. They refuse to acknowledge that the market is candidate-driven.”MRINetwork Recruiter
Employment Situation (U.S.)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. added 292,000 jobs in December 2015, while the unemployment rate remained at 5 percent.
The professional and business services industry added 73,000 positions.
The construction industry grew for the third month in a row, adding 45,000 new jobs. Specifically, many positions were added in the specialty contracting and construction of building fields.
Employment in the manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, financial activities and government sectors remained largely unchanged.
The mining industry continued to decline, losing 8,000 jobs in December. Throughout 2015 this field lost a total of 129,000 positions.
Despite a year of relatively strong employment gains, salaries remained virtually unchanged in December, and increased by just 2.5 percent throughout the year.
The New York Times noted that while 2015’s employment situation was solid, the question remains of whether overall growth will remain strong enough to keep hiring steady, or whether it will be impacted by turmoil in China and other global economies. Analysts are concerned that these issues could further challenge American exporters and manufacturers. Despite the magnitude of these global conditions, Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust, told the news source, "I think this really is illustrative of the fact that economic momentum in the United States is still awfully strong. In spite of the craziness we’ve seen from Asian markets, the fundamentals here at home are still solid."
The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
Employment Situation (Canada)
During the month of December, Canada’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.1 per cent, though the country created 23,000 new jobs.
According to the December Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada, most of the people who secured new jobs throughout the month were older than 55. Employment for workers between 25 and 54 remained largely unchanged, as did youth unemployment.
The largest gains were seen in healthcare and social assistance, an industry that added 17,000 positions. Educational services gained 15,000 jobs, while the finance, insurance, real estate and leasing sector increased its employment by 10,000. The number of residents who registered as self-employed increased by 40,000.
Throughout 2015, Canada added 158,000 jobs – an increase of 0.9 per cent. Within that growth, the professional, scientific and technical services sector expanded by 5.2 per cent. The national resources sector saw declines of 6.8 per cent, with the majority of the decreases taking place in support activities associated with mining and oil and gas extraction. Part-time work rates remained roughly the same, though full-time employment grew by 1 per cent.
According to CBC News, December’s report was a mixed bag. While employment gains in older workers suggests an unstable economic situation, a steady month for the manufacturing industry remains a positive force.
Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, December 2015