Where are all the Good Candidates?

Mike Smith – President/CEO, Ag 1 Source / Career 1 Source

Employers in the past three months have really been taking a serious look at their hiring plans. While many have put off or delayed their interviewing until a clearer picture can be seen for how we operate out of this pandemic, others have been busy filling their rosters.

I wrote an article in 2012 where I studied the employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  In that study, I looked at 10 years of employment numbers from 2002 through 2012 (see below). This included the time period of the last recession, 08-09.  What I found was striking with regards to education level.  For those that had a four-year college degree, the dip in overall employment was very brief and shallow. Less than half a million out of 44 million in that group lost their jobs for several months. Comparatively, among those that had any education short of a four-year degree, there were over 5 million jobs lost, out of a peak in 2007, of 83 million employed in that group. It took about one year for those with at least a four-year degree to return to prior employment levels, which then continued to rise steeply. However, there were barely 1 million of those less educated 5 million that had returned to work by 2012.

What have we found in the executive search business today, the middle of 2020? No doubt, April and May were rough. There was a lot of indecision, some trudging forward and hiring, but many were putting those decisions off. June has turned into a different story. There are some strong signs of a return to hiring, but it’s more than that. What we are seeing is the candidates that have the advanced education, the track record, and the skills and achievements that employers want, are now back to getting multiple offers. For those that are seeking jobs, this is good news. For the right perspective, in this case the candidates that we place with our clients, roughly 95% of them will have at least a bachelor’s degree.

The message to employers is this: There appears to be some similarities today to the last recession.  If you have put off your hiring, and your requirements include a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, specific skills, and experience, the supply of ready-to-work candidates may have already returned to a very tight supply, and many won’t want to relocate.  One candidate that I recently tried to recruit said this, “I’m good for only one relocation per pandemic.”

So, don’t hesitate. Act fast when making hiring decisions. The top candidates will not be available for long. We’ve talked about timeliness in hiring throughout the first part of this year. For help finding that valuable talent that is quickly jumping on new opportunities, you can trust the expertise of our recruiting consultants. Contact us by clicking here.