Why is recruiting so hard if 9% of the workforce is unemployed?

Why is recruiting so hard if 9% of the workforce is unemployed?

By: Tom Bodeep, Senior Vice President, Company-Owned Operations

We are in the most unique labor market I have ever seen. While there is clearly an abundance of people on the market either unemployed or under-employed, jobs are taking longer to fill and hiring managers are frustrated they can’t find the “right person.”  Investment dollars are scarce so these employers are holding out for the candidate who is a safe bet to make an immediate impact.

The issue is rooted deeply in the changing patterns of how work gets done globally. Skills and specific experiences have the upper hand.  Work in the US has undergone a steady shift over the last 20 years.  Work requiring sweat but little experience has, for the most part, shifted to other parts of the globe or been replaced with technology.

The new environment requires new (and old) approaches to recruiting and finding jobs. It is all about matching the skills to the job.  My view is that employers are not focused enough on attracting and retaining these hard to find skills. There is a perception, I believe, that talent is abundant and therefore the candidate should be grateful that I called. The truth is far from it.

If you look at unemployment rates by education (which I am using as a proxy for skills) you will see my point.  The unemployment rate for unskilled, relatively untrained or uneducated workers is well over 15% while the rate for degreed (skilled) professionals is an un-recession like 5%.

So what do you do?

If you are looking for a job…Get training, leverage the skills you have or go back to school to pursue skills you are interested in. This issue isn’t going anywhere, in fact it’s will become more acute.

If you are looking for skilled talent, you must start thinking of the skilled worker as scarce not abundant. You need to pay more, make sure the environment is right and show them both a career path and learning opportunities. Remember, skills rule the day.

7 Responses to “Why is recruiting so hard if 9% of the workforce is unemployed?”

  1. Tom,

    I enjoyed your article and one facet a recruiter pointed out to me was since the high unemployment rate the hiring managers are requesting “purple unicorn”. A position which previously required only a bachelor of science skill level now hiring managers want a masters degree with honors, six certifications, state professional engineering, and can speak four languages.

    Best regards,

  2. Great article! Brings true insight on what’s really going on.

  3. Fantastic point. Specified job training programs that are accessible to those who need them most are crucial. The skills gap is a very real threat to the unemployment numbers, and one that should be addressed…


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  2. Signs Washington is Starting to Think About Jobs | Workforce Watercooler - August 19, 2011

    […] you think these efforts are the right approach?  Is anyone doing anything about the skills gap? Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  3. A Step in the Right Direction | Workforce Watercooler - February 13, 2012

    […] We’ve posted numerous times on the current jobs dilemma, the “skills gap.”  Our own President and CEO, Brian Robinson discussed the Death of Vocational Education, and our Senior VP of Company-Owned Operations Tom Bodeep discussed the Difficulty of Recruiting. […]

  4. The Skills Gap is a Growing Concern | Workforce Watercooler - March 30, 2012

    […] (If you’re interested in TRC’s take, you can read a couple of very insightful blog posts by our leadership here and here.) […]

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