For many Americans, ringing in a new year also means kicking off a new job search. At least, this has been the trend historically as online search activity usually peaks during the second half of January. How this year’s activity patterns will shape up is still anyone’s guess given the range of economic and COVID-19 factors at play.
The hiring outlook is a mixed bag, too. The December jobs report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a decline for nonfarm payrolls with significant losses seen in leisure and hospitality due to the pandemic. Analysts noted that while there was a rise in temporary layoffs, permanent job losses decreased. Last month, CNBC released the results of its Q4 2020 Global CFO Council survey, which reveals that 42% of chief financial officers working at large multinational corporations report that their organizations plan to increase headcount this year, versus 32% who expect it to decrease.
Given the volatile hiring landscape, what should talent acquisition expect from job seekers?
Similar, but shifting, job seeker priorities emerge.
Ceridian’s 2021 Pulse of Talent survey finds that—even amid economic uncertainty—35% of employees would consider making a job change. The most common reasons include wanting to take on a new challenge, a lack of career opportunities at the current company, and doubt that their salary expectations will be met. Further, professional growth is prized to the extent that 43% of workers between the ages of 18 and 29 and 36% of workers between 30 and 48 indicate a willingness to make a lateral move if it offered opportunity for growth.
Career growth was consistently cited as the major reason for seeking a new opportunity well before the pandemic began, so this trend will be of little surprise to talent acquisition teams. What has changed more significantly due to COVID-19 are expectations regarding flexibility. According to the Citrix Talent Accelerator report, using results from a November 2020 survey of 2,000 knowledge workers, 88% of employees will prioritize “complete flexibility” in terms of both where and when work is done when looking for a new job.
It’s likely that organizations with a steady stream of qualified candidates will be able to set their own ground rules when it comes to work location and hours. But for those that need to attract and retain in-demand talent, determining what “flexibility” looks like not just today but after the pandemic subsides will be necessary to remain competitive.
What else can recruiters do to ensure they are prepared for talent acquisition success in 2021?
Evaluate the relevancy of your employer value proposition. Going beyond where and when work gets done, what else has changed at your organization and how do those changes affect your overall proposition? Are the aspects of your employment offering that were essential in 2019 still important to target candidates? You probably don’t need to completely overhaul your EVP but you should consider updates that will be critical to your ability to develop compelling employment messages and tailor them to specific audiences, whether you need to engage with Gen Z candidates for early-career opportunities or develop a more diverse pool of tech talent.
Dig deeper into the job-related data points you track. Data points may look similar to pre-pandemic stats, yet we know the drivers have changed due to dramatic shifts in the economy. Take quit rates as tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for example. Typically a reflection of employee confidence in the job market—with higher rates signaling a strong market—the year-over-year quit rate for private employers as a whole has remained relatively similar (2.5% in Oct. 2019 versus 2.4% in Oct. 2020). But rather than signaling a strong job market, the 2020 rates are more likely a reflection of workers choosing to leave their jobs in order to care for young children or because of the health risks associated with their place of employment. Understanding the true drivers will allow you to develop relevant messaging and strategies based on what’s actually happening in the market.
Strengthen your talent pipelines today for faster hiring tomorrow. One of the best ways to be prepared in a continually evolving talent marketplace is to establish strategies that help you put—and keep—a strong pipeline of talent in place for the recruiting team to tap into as needs arise. This may involve expanding your internal recruiting capabilities or taking advantage of next-gen Talent CRM technology to create actionable lists of qualified, interested and available candidates. Whichever methods you use, the goal is to have a strong pipeline that allows you to respond immediately to talent demands by hiring quality candidates fast.
Managing talent acquisition in 2021 will continue to require agility and adaptability. Get the tips and insights you need to be prepared and proactive—visit GR8 People’s Resources Library today.