How To Deal With A Talent Shortage

Filling open positions during a talent shortage is a trying experience, one made more difficult by the fact that it’s difficult to predict when a shortage will hit. According to a recent survey by ManpowerGroup, employers saw hiring difficulties rise at the beginning of the Great Recession, fall in subsequent years, and rise to near-Recession levels in 2016. A 2018 Hays survey found that 75 percent of employers are experiencing skills shortages despite half attempting to increase headcount.

talent shortage

Both surveys detail troubling trends, yet each relies on the perceptions of employers for their findings. In other words, just because employers don’t see talent, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. By changing how they approach their search, expanding the places they look, and reevaluating the benefits they offer, employers can find and attract skilled employees while others waste time complaining about their lack of options.

Here’s how to deal with a talent shortage—hopefully before you find yourself suffering one.

Reconsider The Job Requirements

Today’s job postings feature miles of required and preferred capabilities few jobseekers can reasonably be expected to match. These skill lists discourage promising candidates who believe they can’t meet the job description’s demands. Worse, many hiring managers create these lists like spoiled kids at Christmas who won’t be satisfied unless they get everything they want.

Instead, pare down your post to the essentials. Your new office administrator should definitely have knowledge about date management procedures, but does she really need 15 years of experience with your specific accounting software? If she’s succeeded in the field so far, she’ll have the know-how to learn the software.

Invest In Training

You may be missing the best employees because they lack some of the hard skills you’re looking for. Hard skills are important, but fortunately, they can be taught. If you spend time and resources devising creative and thorough training programs, you can expand your applicant pool by filling it with people who have the soft skills and positive character traits you value. It’s true that onboarding may take a little longer, but through the right training strategy, you’ll ensure your staff’s skills match your company’s needs.

Be Creative With Benefits

According to the same Hays survey, the second most common way employers attract talent is through competitive salary packages. All companies want to save on costs, but you can’t get something for nothing, and you’ll need to entice top talent with top benefits.

If you can’t boost salary, find creative ways to offer meaningful perks and extras. Encourage work-life balance by offering summer Fridays, flex time, or routine opportunities to work remote. Develop partnerships with local businesses so your employees can reap rewards like gym memberships or workday dog walks. Or establish family-friendly programs such as generous parental leave or company-wide retreats.

Build Robust Ttalent Networks

Don’t wait for job seekers to find you; discover ways to connect with them before their job hunt even begins. Some ideas to get you started:

  • Offer internship programs where students can learn meaningful skills and build connections.
  • Partner with a college’s career services center or a state-affiliated employment agency and have a presence at their job fairs.
  • Teach skills through community and continuing education programs. This way, people interested in your field will naturally think of your organization when they start their job search.
  • Set up a referral program. Let your employees and clients bring you hardworking, like-minded individuals.

The more you think beyond traditional networking methods, the larger your applicant pool becomes.

Promote From Within

You already have talented people at your disposal. Utilize them, and promote gifted team members into higher positions. These employees already know the company, fit the culture, and can learn the skills necessary to succeed in their new role. Promoting from within is a huge morale booster, and your staff will recognize the organization as a place they can grow and develop professionally.

You may believe you’re suffering from a talent deficit, but chances are, your perfect fit is out there. The trick is recognizing who and where the ideal candidates are before anyone else does. Using these methods, you better your chances of finding top talent or, better yet, having top talent come to you. Stop complaining about a talent shortage, go out there, and find it.

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