The story of 2019 will depend a lot on whether the strong labor market can continue. Going into 2019, economic stats point to a tight labor market, headlined by the lowest unemployment rate in decades.
This fact gives skilled talent the upper hand in many job negotiations. There just aren’t a lot of people out there to fill open positions.
The low jobless rate might represent a strong sign for the overall economy, but it puts HR departments in tight spot. The lack of extra applicants means it will be difficult for employers to fill open positions. Not only will the number of candidates be lower, but the best workers will likely already have gigs elsewhere.
The overall situation will force companies to get creative about their HR needs. Here are three specific trends that could dominate 2019, if the strong labor market continues throughout the year:
Focus on Retention
Rather than slog through unpromising prospects, many employers will turn their focus to getting the most out of current employees. This includes making moves to improve efficiency. It also includes a commitment to keeping the company’s best employees, lowering the chances that other firms will be able to poach their best talent.
With this in mind, companies will look for innovative ways to keep their best workers for the long haul. Talented employees (especially those who are savvy negotiators) might see the potential for higher pay, more benefits and increased opportunities within the organization.
With the robust labor market, many workers have turned entrepreneurial. The gig economy isn’t just for Uber and Upwork. Workers across the board view themselves as perpetual free agents, continuously moving from one promising opportunity to the next.
Rather than tying themselves to a single company, many skilled candidates are making a living from a series of short-term engagements. This path can lead to less long-term certainty, and it usually forces workers to give up benefits like health insurance. But it increases flexibility and allows for a wider variety of experience.
For employers, this situation has benefits as well. It avoids long-term commitments, keeping organizations lean. It also allows companies to try out a number of potential workers in low-risk settings to find people they might want to bring back.
Employers Will Have to Sell Themselves More
In weak economic times, any opportunity becomes attractive. Things become much more competitive in better circumstances. Candidates have other offers and plenty of fall-back positions.
This puts the impetus on employers to sell themselves to candidates. Companies can’t be confident that their top choice will automatically accept an offer if it’s tendered. They have to woo.
Meanwhile, job candidates have access to more information than ever before. Glassdoor and other similar resources give potential workers a glimpse inside prospective employers. Prospects can also investigate a company’s online footprint.
Easy searches through news stories and social media give candidates large amounts of information about the company. They can even look up info about individual managers and hiring personnel, making fine-tuned assessments about what working there will be like if they accept an offer.
Need help hiring in 2019?
In this environment, recruiters become especially important. Staffing firms play a matchmaker for employers and workers, a role that intensifies as people get more used to shorter-term engagements. Teaming with a top-flight staffing firm can give you the leg up you’ll need in 2019. Contact Qualified Staffing today to find out more.