When we are talking recruitment and job markets in general, there are always a few global narratives that dominate every conversation. Over the last few years, it has been all but impossible to ignore a couple of them
The first of these is AI, machine learning, automation and the supposedly apocalyptic effects these will have on the future workers. It is definitely a scary proposition for many people, but it is not like this is the first time people are worried about new tools and practices destroying their lives.
Another major narrative we encounter these days is the talent shortage that plagues certain industries and that is becoming more and more noticeable. This is the narrative that we will be covering today, focusing on what it means for recruiters and the recruitment industry.
Today’s Talent Shortage
The talent shortage a number of industries are experiencing nowadays is more complicated than it has been in the past when certain types of businesses lacked skilled workers. More precisely, the industries that are experiencing talent shortages today come from all over the spectrum.
For one, there is a certain shortage in what are considered traditional trades. According to Fast Company, job ads that took the longest to fill included those for barbers, tire repairers and electrical repairers. Pile-driver operators and power dispatchers were also among the jobs that featured more vacancies than job seekers.
Another industry where the talent shortage is very noticeable is in tech. When auditing firm KPMG and IT outsourcer Harvey Nash surveyed more than three thousand tech leaders from around the world, a whopping 65 percent told them that hiring challenges are such that they began to hurt the industry. This is especially true for fields such as data analytics which have exploded in the last couple of years, not giving enough time for experts to be educated or trained.
Healthcare is also seeing a massive talent shortage, especially when it comes to nurses and care workers. As the global population keeps getting older, the shortage will only become more noticeable. In the United States, it is expected that more than 400,000 new nursing jobs will be created by 2024, by which time more than 700,000 nurses working today will retire, creating a massive vacuum. In the UK, healthcare and nursing vacancies already take a while to be filled.
The New Reality
It goes without saying that these shortages already have effects on how recruiters operate in those industries, with more noticeable effects still down the road.
In-house recruiters are experiencing far more pressure than ever before as it becomes more and more difficult to explain to managers and the C-suite that there simply isn’t any talent out there. In companies where talent dictates success, things get very serious very quickly.
For recruitment agencies, talent shortage reduces success rates and the clients often start to rethink their relationship with them. Once again, there is a lot of explaining to do, especially if certain vacancies cannot be filled for months on end, which is already happening and will happen even more frequently in the future.
Perhaps the most maddening aspect of it all is that candidates that used to be more than suitable for certain positions become underqualified because the changing technology requires something else from them. A once respectable candidate pool starts looking emptier and emptier.
In other words, talent shortage makes it much more difficult on recruiters as it directly hampers their efforts and makes them look bad.
What to do?
Handling a reality that is as harsh as the one caused by talent shortage is a difficult task, but there are definitely things that recruiters can do to maximise their chances and still remain successful.
For one, recruiters will do well to start expanding their search for candidates beyond those who tick all the boxes. In a situation where perfect candidates are nowhere to be found, imperfect ones start looking better and better. This is especially true since all of the most progressive and well-managed companies are already investing handsomely in training and re-training.
Of course, recruiters still need to be careful not to become too lax in vetting their candidates. A great example of this are home care providers in the United States. For example, the list of California surety bond requirements started including home care organizations in 2016 where all of their aides have to be checked beforehand. If you came to one such organisation with a candidate whose background check was later to unearth something unsavory, it would hurt your relationship with them, for sure.
Recruiters should also start paying more attention to passive candidates, that is, people who may not be looking for a job at the moment. This does not have to be anything aggressive. It is more of a ‘keep us in mind’ type of thing. Attending industry events is a must, as well as doing proper networking once there.
When we are talking in-house recruiters, there is even more that they can do, besides what we have already mentioned. For example, they can start looking outside the industry or even at recent college graduates. They can also start redefining the vacant positions so that they are attractive to a larger audience. Flexible arrangements can also be a fantastic tool, as proposed by a study by The McQuaig Institute published at Recruiting Daily.
Of course, brushing up on your skills with an LMS such as Recruitment Juice is always a good idea as it will provide an added edge over the competition.
The important thing is to stay proactive and to be aware of the fact that recruiting in industries plagued by talent shortage is an added challenge. Some practices will have to be adjusted and others will have to be scraped altogether.
Everything points out to things getting even hairier before they get better.
The sooner you accept this reality, the better.