How are companies going to handle the increased demand for qualified candidates when so many companies are struggling with staffing now? Why are these companies struggling? Here are the top reasons:
Feast. With the economic downturn, employers have been faced with a deluge of job applicants and the vast majority of these applicants are not suited to those job positions.
Famine. Skilled people are still hard to find, even in this economy. Many positions go unfilled simply for a lack of qualified candidates, particularly in many skilled trades.
Fewer “job changers”. Many people are risk averse in today’s economy and would rather play it safe and stay with a current employer than risk a job move.
Benefits costs are soaring. An increasing number of employers are deciding to put off hiring or rely on temporary workers to avoid such uncertainty.
Reluctance to fill vacant positions causing increased employee stress. With companies reluctant to hire, the workload of existing employees, with regard to the scope of responsibilities and total number of hours worked, is increasing noticeably.
Increase in litigation by the unemployed. When faced with the loss of employment and income, people are much more apt to seek legal redress than when jobs are plentiful.
Low levels of employee commitment and productivity. Studies suggest that employee loyalty is at an all time low, due largely in part to the prevalance of downsizing. Such feelings generally result in decreased productivity; reduced attention to the quality of work and increased risk for customer dissatisfaction.
Perhaps the answer to the staffing challenges of feast or famine lies in retained searches. These days, retained searches are typically conducted for only the highest levels of staff, namely the CEO, CIO and CTO. There seems to be a reluctance to use retained searches for non-senior staff. The argument being that qualified applicants may be found by employee referral or via Craigslist and similar mediums.
Or, maybe less technology, more “hands on” is the answer. Could it be that the candidate selection process depends too much on technology and companies are inadvertently eliminating qualified candidates solely on the basis of not having enough “key terms” listed in their electronically submitted resumés?
Thankfully, a few of the staffing problems we mentioned should resolve on their own in time as the economy improves. We should start to see an improvement in employee productivity and loyalty; people who are more willing to change jobs and a decrease in employee stress as vacancies are filled and the workload is redistributed.
By Jeff Garr, CEO and Frank Zych, Director of HR Services, HR Knowledge, Inc.
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