I Have to Compete for Talent?

One could now defensibly pronounce the US job market as more favorable to job seekers than ever before.  In March of this year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a job was available for every person in the workforce.  That’s 6.6 million available jobs, an all-time high.  Then, in July 2018 open jobs reached another new high, 6.9 million.  A search of the Careerbuilder Data Portal, a service provided to employers who subscribe to their job board, shows 3,764 accounting jobs available in the Salt Lake area.  But only 349 qualifying candidates.  Utah’s unemployment rate and the state’s rebound from soft economic periods have historically been more robust and favorable than US averages.  This is great, except we’re now out on the tip of the talent shortage spear.

Talent acquisition is a changing game.  I have a friend whose favorite pithy business maxim is, “know the rules and play to win”.  The great thing about this expression is the acknowledgment that the rules do not always remain the same.  Playing a winning game of talent acquisition requires we understand and adapt to some new rules.  Niccolò Machiavelli, a guy who took that philosophy to a bit of an extreme, said “whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times”.  Job seekers have options.  Unskilled employees at work this morning can have another position by this afternoon because jobs are so plentiful, and employers are too often desperate for labor.  Stir in the unpredictable nature of the millennial generation of workers and you have more drama than a meeting of Trump’s little black book alumnae.

The millennial workforce is here to stay, whatever their peccadillos.  We are, like it or not, in a competition with each other to curry the favor of candidates who can seem entitled, aloof and pernickety.  Does your talent acquisition strategy acknowledge this reality?  Are your tactics consistent with rules that require you to compete?

Accumulation and retention of talent will define the market leaders going forward.  Talent acquisition is now the coin of the realm.

Steve Pluim

Steve Pluim is the president of TalentTeam, a Salt Lake City based staffing and recruiting firm.

Steve can be reached by email at [email protected]

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