Sunday, March 21, 2010

Concerns with the 2010 Employment Outlook

According to the latest forecasts, the national US employment rate is expected to hit 9.7% by August 2010. What this prediction fails to consider is the percentage of under-employed, those individuals who have accepted part-time or temporary positions as a stop gap measure to their financial bleeding. When included with the unemployment figures, this means the actual rate of people not holding permanent positions in their chosen career field is well over 15%. Many HR professionals and business executives believe that this constitutes an “employer’s market” where available talent is at an all-time high. While mathematically true that there is a higher number of applicants in almost every demographic, one must consider if the increased quantity necessarily dictates an increase in the quality of the eligible applicants available to fill openings.

There are several important factors open for debate as to the validity of this belief. One must consider whether the increased numbers of individuals seeking employment can actually have a negative impact on recruiting efforts. An assessment of the following aspects must be analyzed to determine if the increase in available bodies actually translates to being beneficial for businesses.

Applicant Quality

Typically, when determining reductions in their workforces, companies will retain their most qualified, high performing employees that have attained some longevity with the firm. This immediately implies that some of the individuals currently available in the employment market had not attained levels of skill or achieved a level of performance that would have salvaged their position with their previous employer. Although some highly talented individuals are in the eligible talent pool due to business closings or relocations outside the individual’s demographic, a large number of individuals seeking employment in a depressed economy do not lead their fields in expertise or performance attributes.

Applicant Responses

One of the downfalls of a sluggish market results in overwhelming responses to posted openings. Most employers will readily acknowledge that when the unemployment rates increase significantly over previous years that applications received for announced openings multiply exponentially. To ensure consistent application of selection processes and maintain compliance under current regulations, this dictates an increase in the time spent by HR professionals and hiring managers in reviewing resume submissions. When received applications double and triple in volume, that means that in-house staff responsible for the task of reviewing and selection are not focused on strategic initiatives and accomplishing other priorities. In an economy where efficiency is a necessity, this increase in resume reviews does not align with company goals.

Increased Time-to-Fill Cycles & Recruiting Costs

Due to the increased receipt of applications and the subsequent increase in time spent on review, the time-to-fill cycle for openings tends to increase when the unemployment rates rise dramatically. In addition to the actual review and selection process expanding timelines, many available applicants will accept placements they might not have considered previously, just to ensure they remain financially whole while continuing to search for a job they truly desire. In many instances, this results in placements that turn over in less than a year, increasing corporate recruiting and training costs.

One methodology to reverse the negative aspects of high unemployment rates that impact business enterprises is the utilization of a professional Workforce Acquisition vendor. These talent acquisition specialists have the ability to discover and attract highly-skilled, qualified applicants for companies across a broad spectrum of industries. They increase recruiting process efficiency, eliminating selection review tasks from overburdened HR departments while ensuring compliance with all hiring process regulatory requirements. Another added benefit is the decrease in time-to-fill cycles while actively integrating available talent into the availability pool. The recruiting experts that make up these talent acquisition teams enhance each client’s corporate image by efficiently and unilaterally providing a positive candidate experience. From initial position requisition through on-boarding and talent management, utilizing a professional work force acquisition team can limit recruitment expenditures, reduce timelines, increase recruiting efficiency and help maintain legal compliance.