For most people, I think it has been fairly well established that hiring is a challenge today. As we are moving deeper into the 4th quarter, we are beginning to see employers starting to wonder if they should hire now or wait until the first quarter of 2022. From where I sit, that could be a pretty expensive decision. Everything I am seeing is telling me that we won’t see any significant candidate changes early in 2022 and I don’t see wage growth slowing down any time soon. I am firmly of the opinion that if a great candidate walks through your front door today, grab them immediately.
Wage Growth Continues
Wages are continuing to spike and the cost of hiring new employees is only getting more expensive. According to the BLS, wage growth in the 3rd quarter rose 1.5% across the country. Additionally, per the Federal Reserve in Atlanta, people who quit their roles to join new firms saw average salary increases of 5.4%. People are open to changing roles, but they need a reason to make the change. We are not seeing many who are interested in lateral moves. They want a pay increase. Here is why:
Inflation is absolutely having an impact on our employees. As jobs are being discussed, employees are telling us about their increased costs in rent, or day care, or food. They are very much aware that they need to continue to push their wages higher to simply maintain the lifestyle they have. If anything, I will say that my impression is that candidates are getting more aggressive in looking for higher wages than they were at the start of 2021.
Lack of Candidates
In the state of Florida last month, there are more available jobs than there are unemployed people. (520,000 jobs vs 517,000 unemployed individuals). I don’t know how I can be blunter, yet friendly, with our employers. There is not, nor will there be anytime soon, a long line of candidates lining up at your front door for employment. It just isn’t going to happen. Your choices are few and far between.
When I was growing up, I distinctly remember being worried about an issue at my high school. Was I going to make our JV baseball team or not? My father gave me the best piece of advice that I carry through with me to this day. He said I should only worry about those things I can change or control. Nothing else. I relate that story here for this reason. I can complain about unemployment benefits, I can complain about child tax credits, I can complain about low wages, I can complain about unrealistic expectations. I cannot change or control any of them. Yet this is where we are today. For a wide variety of reasons, we do not have a ton of candidates available, and there is virtually nothing that can be done in the short term to change that. All we can do is make choices based on the people who are available and work accordingly.
Lack of Urgency
If there is one thing we can control, from the employer side, is your urgency to hire. If you REALLY need to hire, prioritize it. Improve your processes and procedures to get candidates through your process quickly and efficiently. Prioritize what is important to you, but…do. not. delay. Almost 50% of the candidates in the marketplace last month had more than one offer. In other words, you are in a bidding war for the talent that is available. Every day that you delay your search is another day where your competition can steal that candidate for you, or that candidate gets another offer that is better than yours. If you really want to compete for talent today, I cannot stress this enough: Speed to hire is critical. That doesn’t mean you should skip steps, or ignore your processes. Instead it means, get all of the things you want done in the hiring process as fast as absolutely possible.
How you handle your hiring process is obviously up to you. But my advice has been, and will remain, if a great candidate walks through your door today – grab them. Get creative and be flexible. If you can do that, I think there are additional candidates who may impress you. But if you are thinking that there is going to be a long line of candidates at your front door at the first of the year, I just don’t see it.