Keep Ahead of the Talent Shortage, Build a Competitive Advantage

Talent shortages continue to be a problem in most industries. According to a Manpower Group survey, talent shortage in the US has more than tripled in the last ten years. 69% of employers are struggling to fill positions, up from 14% in 2010. Moreover, the relationship between employees and employers has changed, and it is important for organizations to adapt and understand employees’ priorities.

What has changed, and why has the talent shortage increased significantly over the last decade?

One reason is that retirements have been accelerating. Covid-19 amplified the issue; some younger Boomers (age 58-67) retired earlier than planned while others lost their jobs and decided not to find another one. The early retirement of this group left a large unanticipated gap in the labor pool. With the majority of Boomers moving out of the workforce, younger generations will not have all of the experience or training to fill many of the jobs the retiring group has left behind, creating an even more crucial issue in the future.

Another reason for the increase in available jobs is that the way employees are approaching work has changed. Employees are now more willing to change jobs when they are not satisfied with their career. They have changed their expectations of their employers, and how they view their career growth. A challenge for some leadership teams may be holding onto past data, processes, and internal cultural influences that discourage employees from trying to advance within the organization. It is now imperative to listen to what employees are saying and to be flexible with policies and processes that are currently in place.

How Do You Address a Talent Shortage?

Companies can start to address a shortage by raising salaries or improving benefits and retaining their talent. A good way to ensure your pay is competitive is to conduct a pay audit. Some larger companies have surprised some of their employees with unscheduled bonuses, moving to a hybrid work model, or covering some college tuition costs. This is great for companies with enough financial resources to do this but may not be an option for all.

Attract talent from broader pools. Organizations can look more at underrepresented groups, including expanding their searches to other geographic areas by hiring employees to work in a remote capacity. There can be consideration given to rehiring former workers, and building relationships with career counselors from high schools and state and community colleges. (How do you get better diversity in job candidates?)

Focus on skillset and loosen degree requirement hiring criteria. Automated recruitment systems can screen out good candidates because they do not have the exact qualifications. For example, many organizations demand a college education, which could rule out individuals with commensurate experience over people with a degree that doesn’t relate to the job. Instead, organizations should take a close look at the requirements for their jobs and make sure that they match the skills needed to be successful in their role. Taking out the degree requirement when it is unnecessary will allow more applicants to move through the recruitment process.

Focus on retention and training of current staff. One of the best strategies for retaining talent is through increased diversity and internal career development. Develop an intentional plan with employees, offering them opportunities to learn new skills throughout their time working for the organization. Someone who is eager and possesses the right “soft” skills may have the potential to develop and grow within an organization.

Provide technology and tools for your staff. Does your team have suitable tools and processes in place to help them do their best in their roles? Consider upgrading your technology systems to save time and reduce manual and repetitive work for your staff. (Which HR Tech is Right For Your Organization?)

As candidate and employee needs are often evolving, it is essential to review your talent acquisition process regularly and adjust accordingly. If your organization would like assistance in reviewing or developing your current talent acquisition process, contact Kiwi Partners’ HR services team.

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