5 Talent Shortage Problems & Solutions to Address Them
Employers in nearly every industry are grappling with today’s talent crunch. The factors that contribute to the talent shortage are plentiful—from workers quitting during the pandemic and older workers retiring to changes in candidate mindsets/priorities. While industries like education and healthcare are among the hardest hit by the talent shortage, no organization is immune to the effects and many of today’s most effective strategies will work in any industry.
In recent webinars and community discussions, we’ve explored the best practices in K-12 and healthcare, and we’ve talked with other large employers like Uber to learn how they’re addressing their talent shortage challenges.
The challenges we’re seeing right now in the post-covid 19 pandemic labor market are likely to intensify before they wane. To remain competitive, employers need to make changes now to respond to the current trends and position themselves for the years or even decades to follow. Baby boomers are increasingly leaving the workforce (further exacerbating the current labor shortage), even after many delayed their retirement amid the pandemic and stayed in the workforce longer than previous generations. The hitch is that there are not enough younger people entering the workforce to replace those who will retire in the coming years. Generation Z is smaller than any other generation, so the numbers simply aren’t there.
Given everything we know about the makeup, attitudes, and priorities of the available skilled labor pool, here are five key challenges related to these severe talent shortages, and effective solutions to help you navigate the talent gap in today's tight labor market.
Problem: Job Ads Aren’t Driving Applications Like They Once Did.
When there were more job seekers than job openings, it was easier to encourage people to complete an application and enter your talent pipeline on their own. Now, with the situation reversed, job ads and job postings are much less likely to drive applications. Today’s skilled workers want more information and more options before they put the time and energy into an application, which calls for a big change in talent acquisition strategies.
Create a more effective job ad call to action with a differentiated experience like the opportunity to meet recruiters and hiring managers virtually (even before you apply). Instead of linking your job ads to an application form, drive job seekers to virtual recruiting events. Host a variety of virtual recruiting events that help candidates get more information or talk with a recruiter or hiring manager before applying. Making a virtual event the first step, rather than an application, gives you the opportunity to engage with candidates earlier and deliver a better candidate experience.
Problem: Relying Solely on Brand Reputation Is No Longer the Silver Bullet to Sourcing Talent.
This is another throwback to times when job seekers outnumbered available jobs in the talent market. Then, employers could count on applicants coming into their pipeline automatically, based solely on employer branding. While this may still account for a portion of job seekers in the awareness stage of your recruiting funnel, employers today have to do more to stand out and encourage candidates to stay in the process.
You need to create an effective and personalized candidate experience that speaks directly to the roles you are working to fill. You can do this at scale with virtual recruiting events that make it easier and faster for candidates to get more information from you. Inviting them to have conversations with you shows them that the time they spend considering your organization is also time when you are considering them. Nobody is putting up with the ‘resume black hole’ amid a talent shortage.
Problem: Your ATS Is Screening Out Candidates Who Might Actually Be a Great Fit.
Your applicant tracking system (ATS) is supposed to help you manage candidates more effectively, but its internal settings could actually be contributing to your staffing challenges. Chances are, your ATS was set up when there were too many applicants for each position and you needed to screen much more aggressively. Technical skills requirements may be too strict or may ignore adjacent skills bridges between industries. There may also not be a good way to evaluate soft skills in candidates, which can be detrimental to your hiring goals and company culture. If left unchecked, your ATS will could potentially your candidate pool and artificially limit your prospects.
Review your ATS settings and make changes to broaden the pool of candidates your recruiters will actually see. At the same time, work outside your ATS and give candidates a chance to talk to recruiters/hiring managers before they apply with tools like online chat, virtual events, and virtual office hours. The more options you offer for engagement, the more likely you will see candidate engagement improve.
Problem: Talent Is Leaving My Industry Entirely or Not Entering It At All Anymore.
One of the biggest reasons for today’s talent shortage is the fallout from the Great Resignation. Along with sky-high voluntary quit rates over the past two years, workers are often looking for jobs in a different industry, shrinking your pool of available talent even further. McKinsey reports that 65% of workers who quit their jobs in the past two years are not returning to the same industry and 17% are not returning to the workforce at all. The upside? This also means workers who previously worked in other industries might be open to a new job in yours, if you know how to entice them over, that is.
Use virtual recruiting events to target talent pools with similar skill sets or interests (i.e. capable, willing candidates who can be cross-trained). Participate in multi-employer virtual events with universities and other organizations that can help you connect with entry-level talent. The best practice for combatting this particular challenge is a long game. It requires employers to build their talent pool before they need to tap into it. Expanding your talent community now is the only way you’ll be ready to fill positions in the future to mitigate the effects of talent disruptions to come.
Problem: Cold Outreach on LinkedIn Isn’t Encouraging Candidates to Apply.
When open positions were more scarce, LinkedIn cold outreach was more effective in many industries. Now, with so many employers competing for job seekers’ attention, it’s just not working. These days, candidates’ inboxes are likely inundated with automated messages that often go unread.
Deliver a more personalized candidate experience, speak to what matters most to candidates, and offer lots of options for engaging with a recruiter outside of an application. Doing more to stand out from other employers competing for the same potential candidates and showing them that you understand their needs and preferences off the bat will go a long way toward enhancing your candidate experience as well as your hiring and retention outcomes in the long-term.
Virtual Recruiting Events Help Combat the Talent Shortage
With so many challenges related to the talent shortage, talent acquisition teams have their work cut out for them. Fortunately, new technology and proven best practices can help you forge ahead, presenting a good opportunity for companies to revamp existing hiring processes and strategies. By leveraging the power of tools such as virtual recruiting events to deliver a more personalized candidate experience across the hiring funnel, you can expand your reach, speed up time to hire, cut costs, and engage your future workforce in a much more sustainable way.
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