First Friday Preview

The Recruiter’s View:
Top Hiring Insights of 2017

June 2017

According to a June New York Times article, “We may be closer to full employment than it seemed.” Based on the May jobs report, the source asserts the possibility that this is as good as it will get for the United States labor market. Why? Slowed job growth with 121,000 new positions as the three-month average, and an all-time low of 4.3 percent for the unemployment rate – not because of more people finding work – but because of modest wage increases and a labor force that has been shrinking for the last few years.

This dynamic is particularly apparent in the executive, managerial and professional job market where many companies are focused on expanding, but are finding it difficult to locate enough skilled talent. In this sector, which has been candidate-driven for several years, the lack of skilled talent is further complicated by top candidates who feel free to reject job offers and accepting offers from other companies. So as a hiring authority, what can you do to improve your odds of bringing in the talent that you seek?

The 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Study conducted by MRINetwork, reveals that the inability to find quality talent coincides with lengthy hiring practices, lower than expected compensation, and an employer sentiment that candidates should be honored to be considered for their job opportunities. Retention is also challenging, as high performers recognize more jobs are available and feel more confident about pursuing them.

Based on the Study findings, the following are the top hiring insights for employers to know:

Insight #1: It really is a candidate-driven market.

MRINetwork recruiters have been observing the shift to a candidate-driven market over the last five years and the according to the survey, 90 percent of recruiters still feel the professional labor market is candidate-driven in most industry sectors. By contrast, 47 percent of employers believe companies have the upper hand. The reality is the best candidates have other job options, so your value proposition must clearly articulate how coming on board would benefit their career. Assuming that candidates should feel lucky to be invited for an interview with your company is one of the biggest mistakes that can be made when trying to attract top talent.

Insight #2: Compensation has become the top deciding factor for high performers who are looking to make a job move.

Recruiters, employers and candidates agree that advancement opportunities and better compensation packages are the most important factors to candidates looking for a job. Over 50 percent of candidates selected competitive compensation packages most often, followed by advancement opportunities, suggesting that compensation is the deciding factor when considering a new job. Across all respondents, compensation was also one of the primary reasons an offer was rejected, along with the candidate accepting another offer. Ultimately, compensation needs to be competitive enough to convince high performers to leave their current employers.

Insight #3: Rejected job offers matter in a talent short economy.

Almost half of surveyed employers said offer rejection percentages were between 1 – 10 percent. While this may seem like a small amount, every bit of lost talent matters when there is a shortage of qualified candidates in many industries. Compensation is not the only reason for offer rejections; frequently it is the interview process itself. It’s critical to provide a streamlined and positive interview process that keeps applicants informed of where they stand every step of the way. Most importantly, everyone on the interviewing team should be providing consistent messaging about the role, and clearly articulating why your company culture and values make it an enviable place to work.

Insight #4: Workplace expectations have changed.

Today’s top performers want more out of life than the standard 9-5, in-office work scenario. Fifty-five percent of surveyed candidates said work-from-home options are somewhat to extremely important to them. Additionally, an “emphasis on work-life balance” was the second most selected attribute by candidates who are consider a job move this year. While the tendency may be to think that candidates want to work less, or that working from home will decrease productivity, top talent want to work more efficiently, any time, and from anywhere. Providing this flexibility is not only attractive to prospective hires, but also creates the potential for happier, engaged employees who feel their work life does not overshadow personal interests and obligations.

Insight #5: Most companies aren’t prepared for upcoming surge in Baby Boomers retirements.

When asked to describe the upcoming onset of large-scale Baby Boomer retirements, employers and recruiters agreed that most businesses are not prepared for the workforce changes involved with preparing for baby boomer departures. Employers also feel that programs will need to be developed to retain Baby Boomers to alleviate some of this pressure. Organizations that are able to prioritize succession planning and career-pathing now by making it part of their company culture will be better able to respond to baby boomer retirements.

When you consider these 5 hiring insights, it’s clear how they may be impacting your ability to attract top talent in an already tight candidate market. The hiring landscape and candidate expectations have changed. Companies that want to attract and retain the best talent, will need to revisit their interviewing and talent management approaches, to position themselves as a great place to work.