The job market for the last several years – with the exception of the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic – has predominately been one driven by job candidates.
That may be changing now as the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ March Jobs Report (released just a few days ago), showed the number of new job openings declined that month, dropping to 9.54 million, the lowest it’s been since May 2021. Layoffs also rose nearly 250K to 1.8 million in March, the highest level since December 2020.
This is a sign of a probable “tougher” market for job seekers because economists look at employee quits as an indication of worker confidence – people feel they can find a job quickly – so they are more likely than at other times to quit even if they don’t already have another job standing at the ready. Meanwhile, the article continues, an increase in layoffs/”discharges” is an indication that employers are “more cautious to hire and more likely to cut jobs.”
Most importantly, accordingly to the article, those two – quits and layoffs – tend to “move in opposite directions when the labor market starts to weaken.”
Therefore, if these two truly are moving in opposite directions, our future could include a tougher job market for job seekers.
(Understand that this slowdown may not include all business sectors. For example, the tech sector currently has far more job openings than skilled workers.)
How employers can prepare for a great many more applicants than openings.
As experienced recruiters – we founded Debbie’s Staffing in 1986 – we’ve been helping candidates and our client companies find each other through several job/economic downturns. We’ve been there and we’re well prepared for it.
Here’s how you can prepare, as well:
1. Most importantly, understand that job seekers may be desperate. They may be struggling to find employment and may be highly stressed. They may come across as bitter, angry and uncooperative.
None of your recruiters should be asked to withstand unwavering vitriol, but it’s important to remember what it’s like to be unemployed and treat candidates with the utmost in kindness and empathy.
In addition to emphasizing with their situation, your company should provide candidates with timely feedback, being transparent about your recruitment process (ex: will interviewees receive a phone call or an email if they aren’t selected for the position) and keep them informed throughout the hiring process (acknowledging receipt of their application through receiving notification that they weren’t selected for an interview, and so on).
2. Your HR recruiting team also probably will be stressed during this time as they well could become inundated with resumes and applications, making their workload all the heavier.
You can help your recruitment team weather the onslaught by hiring more recruiters or assigning additional resources to the recruitment team (such as the services of a recruitment/staffing company).
Doing so can help ensure that your company’s recruitment process runs smoothly and that your candidates are treated with respect and care.
3. Remember that any future downturn or even recession likely will end someday. (All of those in the past have done so, even the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession from December 2007 to June 2009.) Once it does, the job market could turn into one that favors candidates. Candidates tend to remember how companies treated them when they applied for work – and they often hold onto these memories for a long time.
Those companies that treat their candidates well when candidates are plentiful can earn the respect and potential loyalty of applicants when they are scarce. In fact, a great reputation goes a long way no matter in which direction the economic headwinds are blowing.
Let us help you, your recruiters and your candidates when times are great and when times…could use some improvement. Learn more about our recruiting and job placement services at the location nearest you.