Businesses have been struggling with the challenge of limited hirable talent throughout the pandemic – and the issue doesn’t seem to be improving. There are a few reasons for this, but a major one is that employees are not expecting more from their jobs. COVID-19 has also changed the needs and demands of employers as well. In this blog, we discuss both of these dilemmas in-depth to help you navigate this new era of limited talent and increased expectations.

According to Forbes Magazine, there are nearly four times as many employees aged 65 and older as there are employees under the age of 25. This means that a large chunk of the workforce pool is nearing their retirement. Unfortunately for employers, there are also much more people leaving the job market than coming in. However, it’s not due to a shortage of demand – 916,000 new jobs were posted by U.S. employers in March. So, what’s causing this national dilemma?

What’s Causing It?

Forbes theorizes that a possible reason for this scarcity of talent is because younger generations are more interested in private-sector jobs since they feel as though the federal workplace culture is too stiff and bureaucratic. Additionally, fresh talent coming into the job market is much less complacent than their predecessors. Lockdown has made all of us prioritize our mental and physical wellbeing. As such, this new generation of workers places increased value on things like company culture work-life incentives, and healthcare benefits. In fact, a recent global analysis conducted by ManpowerGroup showed that 8 in 10 employees want more remote work to attain a healthier work-life fusion. With trailblazer companies such as Twitter and Square allowing employees to work from home indefinitely, job seekers are starting to search for jobs with employers that better match their newfound needs.

Even though evolved job expectations play a role in why certain jobs are going unfilled, there are still other things to consider. The Wall Street Journal believes increased unemployment benefits are also to blame. Many people are receiving more money from benefits than they would normally receive from available jobs. This is likely the reason why jobs from several industries ––– ­­­­­­­from restaurants, to manufacturing, to construction ––– are all finding it more difficult than usual to fill their open positions. Moreover, many businesses are re-opening ahead of schools, making it difficult for parents to find people who can watch over their children and guide them through their online classes. This is yet another reason why people are not rushing to get back to their posts. Even further, we must consider those individuals who used their entrepreneurial spirit to their advantage and realized a hobby during the lockdown that they were able to profit from, eliminating their need to go back to working under someone else.

However, not only did this pandemic create a shift in employee needs and wants, but it also created a shift in employer needs and wants. According to the Harvard Business Review, another reason for the talent shortage may be a sudden technological shift. Even though there have been rapid digital progressions within the past decade, the pandemic fiercely accelerated digital trends and corporate dependence on them. This sudden transition has fueled the IT modernization movement. With this shift, there has become an emphasized need for employees who know how to navigate their way through these new technological advancements.

How Do You Mitigate These Talent Shortages?

In this new, technology-heavy era, here are 5 helpful tips to consider when dealing with this newfound challenge.

1) Craft a Disciplined Sourcing Strategy

Gone are the days of posting a job online and waiting for a response. During these trying times, you have to be proactive. Enlist the help of recruiters or utilize your own employees as ambassadors. Monetarily incentivizing your current team to promote vacancies amongst their own personal and professional networks is a great way to find new, trusted talent for your company.

2) Go Where the Talent is

Instead of solely sticking to online resources, expand and try to be creative! At  Vonazon, our HR head likes to attend college fairs to network our company and our positions to those who will be entering the job force in a matter of months.

3) Build Passive Talent Communities

Rather than waiting for a vacancy to arise, be proactive in building a community of vetted, prequalified talent to choose from. Make sure to include professionals of all experience levels, as you never know where in your business a turnover may arise. The faster you’re able to fill open positions, the less revenue your business loses.

4) Watch for New Gaps

Complacency leads to incompetence. If COVID-19 proved anything to us, it’s that sudden shifts can occur out of nowhere. Proactive leaders always have an eye out for trends that may affect their staffing in the short term and long term.

5) Never Stop Recruiting

Look for every possible opportunity to grow your personal network. Be aware of what your company is searching for and make a habit of communicating that with others on a regular basis. As the old saying goes, “You gotta know people to know people”.

As we slowly start to make our way out of the pandemic, the effects are still very real. Many businesses are realizing that they need a larger team and more hands-on deck. However, finding the right talent is proving to be extremely difficult. Don’t get discouraged though – finding quality talent is still possible. First, ask yourself what you can improve on and go from there. Familiarize yourself with today’s employer trends and make sure your company is keeping up with them. The good news is, when you hit the ground, the only way to go is up.