As unemployment falls, competition for talent rises

As unemployment falls, competition for talent rises
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It’s a good time to be a skilled worker in America. As economic conditions slowly but continually warm up and the skilled labor gap widens, the job market is becoming a much more hospitable place for workers, especially those with certain highly marketable, ever-evolving skills.

Consider the numbers. At the end of the Great Recession in early 2010, new job openings plummeted and unemployment stood at 9.8%. Since then, new job openings have nearly doubled, and unemployment has dropped to 5%. There are now 1.7 job seekers for every opening, compared with 6.2 back in 2009.

This is all good news for members of the workforce, but for employers, it highlights an ongoing challenge: a skills gap. A recent survey found that 36% of organizations around the world report a shortage in talent, the highest rate seen in over seven years. The biggest reason employers say they’re having a hard time filling roles is a lack of technical skills—in fact, skilled trade workers, engineers, and technicians top the list of difficult to source talent. Executive decision makers echo these findings, with 73% of CEOs noting that they are concerned about the availability of key skills.

Of course, there are programmers, systems administrators, and other technically skilled workers ready and willing to work. But now there are more jobs available, putting new pressures on human resources departments. In addition to keeping up with ever-changing and often technical skill sets, HR must also must ensure companies are staying competitive when it comes to things like culture and flexibility—key concerns for desirable prospective job seekers.

Unsurprisingly then, 87% of organizations say improving company culture and employee engagement is one of their biggest challenges. However, companies also recognize that in order to survive in the talent economy, improving culture is just the first step. Attracting, engaging, and retaining top performers is a long-term investment. Like any other investment, achieving strong returns starts with a smart strategy.

To that end, businesses are seeking solutions that help them better track the performance, engagement, and growth of the employees they already have. In fact, 89% of organizations have either changed their employee performance management systems or plan to do so within the next 18 months.

Barring a major economic downturn, the talent crunch is here to stay. To stay competitive, smart companies are using a diversified strategy that tackles culture, processes, and tools to find and keep people who can grow with the changing needs of the business.

Learn how Workday’s unified, human capital management solutions can help companies answer all their people related questions and grow their global workforce.

This article was produced on behalf of Workday by the Quartz Marketing team and not by the Quartz editorial staff.