One could be forgiven for feeling a bit of confusion about the overall job market as it stands today. It seems like for every report that paints a positive picture about the future employment outlook, another report comes out almost immediately that seemingly refutes that assumption.
Given these uncertain times, how can employers prepare and predict the upcoming changes to the labor market.
Here are a few areas where there seems to be a consensus:
- Hiring and overall employment is increasing, but at a very modest rate that appears to be keeping pace with the overall economic growth.
- Companies (particularly small businesses) are eager to hire, but are wanting to see more consistent positive signals emerge before making the leap.
- Overall workplace efficiency is declining, which many experts site as a indicator that hiring will increase because employers have maxed out the capacity of their current workforce.
- According to the feds, unemployment will continue to improve gradually, but remain elevated. Economic growth will improve marginally over the next few quarters, with a more solid improvement after that.
- With labor costs rising in China and the Far East, some analyst predict a solid growth in US Manufacturing jobs in the upcoming quarters.
So what can companies take away from this to be prepared for the future? For most, the strategies are typical of past downturns—waiting it out, preserve capital, increase efficiency, foster and maximize current business relationships. What is different this time around is successful companies have utilized the power of new recruitment technologies to attract and retain top talent while awaiting for the job market upswing.
Top talent is out there, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find. Being able to employ traditional methods to attract candidates—job postings, referrals, external recruiters, and networking—are still viable and important. The difference is the emergence of social media, social networking, and social advertising, which is making the difference in recruitment strategy effectiveness. As competition for existing jobs increases, so has the search to find that quality talent. It is no longer possible to hang a virtual “help wanted” sign and expect to receive top tier talent. Employers must get exposure to their brand and their openings by focusing on the traditional forms of advertising, internal and external sourcing, and referrals while increasing the use of social media marketing and effective job post advertising strategies to stay on top of their game.
Most indicators point to an improving job outlook, however slow and modest. Times are now forcing companies to rethink and change their recruitment strategies, and regardless of what the future holds for the job market, I think that companies that neglect the emergence of these new forms of advertising and technology will find it increasingly difficult to survive future changes in the job market.
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