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A few observations and random thoughts on the growing hiring frenzy

Employers are in a hiring frenzy, haven’t you heard? Perhaps you’ve seen it via a surge of postings and recruiting activity on your own site – or a competitor’s. Perhaps you’ve read some version of the story about employers that are unable to fill their open positions (or more interestingly, having to raise wages to entice workers back in). Or maybe employers aren’t in a hiring frenzy in your segment of the economy – maybe COVID is trending up, or vaccination rates are too low, or folks are still too nervous to venture out.

Well, from where I sit (which is admittedly a fairly unusual vantage point) the outlook is pretty good for job boards and recruitment marketing businesses. Money continues to flow into our industry, which is useful if you’re looking to expand. Front-line workers who never had the option of a remote workplace are finding increased demand for their services – to the point of employers actually increasing wages and benefits. When employers have to try harder to find workers, our industry does well.

The imposition of remote work for many industries has actually seemed to have a somewhat permanent effect, too – again to our industry’s benefit. If employers are willing to allow more remote-friendly positions, then they can cast a wider net for potential employees. Job boards can help them track down the right workers, no matter where they are located. And with this expansion of remote work comes additional demands from employers for services, such as background checks, remote-friendly meeting, messaging, and payment systems, and so on. These services can be a natural extension for those job boards that already offer CRMs, assessments, and the like.

Thought that all of the programmatic companies had been bought? Think again. PandoLogic is still out there, as are Joveo and a few others – but I suspect we’ll see another round of acquisitions before the year is out. A recent analysis by the AIM Group pointed out that programmatic’s share of the job ad business is no more than 15% – considerably less than had been forecast just a few short years ago. The reason? It’s working well for high-volume hirers – but not so much for mid-sized and small employers. Nevertheless – if you run a programmatic job business, you’re probably already talking to potential buyers.

One factor that U.S. employers haven’t really had to deal with before is a long-term shortage of workers – at any price. As a recent Atlantic article pointed out, the fertility rate in the U.S. and much of the EU is below replacement rate – which means fewer workers. What makes this more interesting for employers – or challenging – is that governments have not had much success in changing the fertility rate. Just ask Japan. We’re getting a preview of a labor shortage now, as many of the workers displaced by COVID are simply deciding not to come back to their old jobs. Maybe they’re looking at an early retirement, or they’re moving to a different job in a higher-paying field. A long-term shortage of workers also poses a challenge to our industry – one that isn’t often discussed. Perhaps now is the time?

As promised, a few observations and some completely random thoughts. Perhaps you have some for me?

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. While I have noticed a significant increase in wages being paid I’m not sure if I have seen a corresponding increase in benefits. While employers are putting out sign-on bonuses, this is hardly something of long-term gain to an employee.

    I think that recruiters and job boards are going to have to shift into a position where they are becoming consultants for employer branding rather than just a database of jobs.

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