This year is closing out with more uncertainty than many had hoped for or expected. The COVID-19 virus, and its variants, continue to ebb and flow around the world creating challenges for employers. There are a record number of job openings and a record number of Americans quitting their jobs. Looking ahead, what are 2022 hiring expectations?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly four and a half million US citizens quit their jobs in September and almost eight million people affected by the pandemic have not yet started looking for a job yet.
Many expected hiring to have rebounded by now, with kids back in school in-person, expanded unemployment benefits ending, and widespread availability of the vaccine and or booster shots. However, that has not been the case.
Perhaps part of the reason we’re not seeing the expected rebound is skills-related. Reskilling or upskilling has been a hot topic since before the pandemic started. It’s one thing to take classes that will help you transition to a new role when your company is paying for it. However, for those who are unemployed, they have to determine what they would like to do next, then sign up, attend, and pay for the classes on their own.
Another reason may be the fear of contracting COVID-19. With states and municipalities seeing a surge in cases, many people are wary of going back into the workforce where they will be around people indoors for an extended period of time. This is especially true of lower-wage and part-time positions that often rely on older workers who may be more concerned about contracting the virus.
Wilmington Trust Chief Economist Luke Tilley recently noted, “Labor force participation is being held back by surging retirement, ongoing virus complications, which affect willingness to work and availability by way of childcare needs, and also by many people who are reassessing their desire to work.”
The United States has built back 78% of the jobs lost during the pandemic, leaving the country with five million fewer jobs than before the pandemic. And it’s not just the hospitality industry accounting for those jobs. The leisure and hospitality industry is down by just over one and a half million jobs, which still leaves three and a half million jobs in other industries.
At this rate of job growth, we won’t see pre-pandemic job levels until the end of Q2 2022. If you still have job openings and are struggling to find the right candidates, keep active in your search. Economists still predict hiring to pick up throughout Q4 and into next year.
If you’re not getting the results you’d like, assess your hiring process and see where there are areas that you can improve. Look at what others are doing and why they are having success. There may be new ideas you can adopt.
Also, look at your compensation and benefits offerings. Beyond salary, many top candidates are looking for autonomy and flexibility in their next role. Is your organization becoming more innovative with employee engagement?
You should also consider what types of skills your organization needs? This is often the soft skills that are less obvious on a resume. For example, hiring someone from the industry or a person who has been there and done that is not always the best choice. They may be set in their thinking and you’re simply going to get more of the same.
While it may take some time, getting the right person who is a culture fit and can do the job is far better than rushing the process to get someone who may not last a year in the role, and then you’re starting over. If you have questions or need help with an executive search, send us a note, and one of our team of recruiters will get in touch with you.