Has hiring been a struggle for your business?
If so, you are not alone.
Many companies in Texas are experiencing recruiting woes, with a lack of candidates topping the list. It’s safe to say that it’s a “buyer’s market” on the hiring scene right now. The power lies with candidates, and the recent jobs report further proves this; the US added only 266,000 jobs in April 2021, significantly missing the 1 million expected. This news comes shortly after the jobs report for March 2021 was revised downward from 916,000 to 770,000. Furthermore, the unemployment rate rose in April to 6.1% with an estimated 8.2 million fewer jobs than there were in February 2020, prior to the pandemic lockdowns that brought the economy to a halt. All of this suggests that jobs are out there, people just aren’t taking them.
The struggle is especially evident in the $15-$25 per hour range of job positions. The culprit? There isn’t just one factor, but expanded unemployment benefits are partly to blame.
Currently, unemployment benefits recipients in Texas can make approximately $20 per hour; pair that with COBRA subsidies provided by the federal government that allow the unemployed to continue their medical benefits at no cost to themselves, and there is very little incentive to find work. Though unemployment benefits recipients are required to look for work, the Texas Workforce Commission is so inundated with cases, they don’t have the manpower to audit recipients. Luckily, Governor Greg Abbott recently announced federal pandemic-related benefits will end in June, which should help alleviate some of this pain for employers.
Though we’re returning to some sense of normalcy post-pandemic, higher level positions remain extremely competitive to hire for. In general, people are hesitant to change jobs, whether it’s due to a sense of loyalty to their current employers for accommodating them during the pandemic, or an attempt to avoid a “last one hired, first one fired” situation. This leaves candidates who are in search of a new job in a position where they can pick and choose, and often have multiple offers on the table.
So what’s an employer to do in such a sparse hiring landscape? While there are no perfect solutions, we do have a few useful tips for business owners and hiring managers alike.
If Possible, Boost Pay For Your Open Position. Money talks, and increasing the pay range for your open position might be enough of an incentive to draw in qualified candidates. Offer sign-on bonuses or increase other benefits, like paid time off.
Grow From Within. Do what you have to do to get by until things improve. Don’t quit looking, but in the interim, recruit internally where possible to fill open positions by cross-training existing employees to grow into roles with more responsibilities. Train to fill gaps until you can find qualified candidates, and plan your business around those gaps.
Target Recent College Graduates. This is a strategic move. One, because college graduates aren’t eligible for unemployment, and two, most are actively seeking a job to build experience.