When an “Employer’s Market” Really Isn’t One

When an “Employer’s Market” Really Isn’t One

Economic downturns often turn into what is called an employer’s market: many people lose their jobs and companies don’t hire as much when the economy was booming.

Hence, more people vying for fewer jobs and so employers can “pick and choose” among potentially many terrific job candidates.


If the nation’s job market does take a downturn, it may not be a typical employer’s market: fewer people are entering the workplace now as Boomers retire and even members of Gen X start to leave the workforce.

In addition, Millennials and GenZ tend to change jobs more frequently than older generations – your employee churn may increase. In other words, employers may not have as much of an “upper hand” as in other job downturns and may need to adjust their expectations.

Not many job openings and STILL not enough people to fill them!

This could become your problem. Here are some ideas to help you through this:

  1. Consider thinking it’s a “candidate’s market” and act accordingly.

When something is scarce, humans tend to appreciate it more and treat it better. That’s usually what happens in a candidate’s market, employers go out of their way to possibly:

  • Interview after hours when a candidate may be available.
  • Engage with candidates via email and SMS, letting them know where they stand in a job search.
  • Don’t require that a candidate fill out a full application form online; a resume does fine and information such as references, social security numbers, etc. can wait until the time of hire and/or background checks.
  • Consider candidates who have most – or even just “some” – of the “must-have skills, education and credentials” for the position, so long as they otherwise feel they’re a good candidate. (That is, companies aren’t looking for perfect matches.)
  • Consider people for positions that “require” college degrees, so long as the candidate has great experience in the field and has most – or even just “some” – of the “must have” attributes.

Treating candidates just as you did in the midst of the pandemic – as the extremely valuable resources they are – will help you.

  1. Think about training/upskilling current employees that show promise.

You may not need an employee’s current skills as your company considers cutbacks in certain areas, but could the person be re-trained/upskilled into the positions/skills you DO need? Upskilling not only helps you keep a team member who’s been a great hire, it helps your other workers see that you value employees and are willing to invest in their futures, even during a downturn.

  1. Take your time before making life-changing decisions (life-changing for your employees, that is).

Are you certain one department/sector is slowing down more than another and therefore it should be cut? Perhaps it’s an anomaly; perhaps not.

Take a step back for a few weeks – we recommend a minimum of four – and see what plays out in your business.

Tech employees, for example, can be very hard to find. Letting them go at the first sign of a downturn in your need for them could be a decision you regret when things pick back up in a few weeks or months.

Instead of letting them go, could you use their skills in another tech area? Earning new certifications is a win for both of you: the employee keeps her job and you retain someone whom you know to be a proven and valuable asset.

If you find yourself short-staffed no matter if the job market is booming or in something of a bust, learn more about how Debbie’s Staffing can help your company find the people you need when you need them, for as long as you need them.