February 9, 2022 by Ethan Oldham
Your hiring strategy for 2022 faces a host of challenges and opportunities.
On the one hand, talent has never been so essential and so elusive. The December JOLTS reported 10.9 million job openings in December, and 4.3 million quits, both near series-highs. The labor force participation rate remains below pre-COVID levels. All in all, it’s still a tight labor market, and hiring will remain an uphill battle.
However, in the face of these challenges comes an array of opportunities. A battery of new and exciting skills is rumbling into play as workforces look to the future. Remote work is profoundly altering how and where we look for talent. And as talent becomes harder to find, companies are becoming more creative in their tactics.
Here are six hiring strategies to help you win in the new year!
Want more info on the trends that will shape 2022? Download the 2022 Talent Playbook!
Talent is increasingly rare, and therefore increasingly expensive. Overall, wages spiked by 1.3% in Q3 of 2021—twice as much as Q2 of 2021 and Q3 of 2019. And in some industries, wage inflation was much higher.
A variety of factors are driving up wages, including especially acute labor shortages and abnormally high demand. In addition, industry giants like Amazon and Target have openly stated higher pay levels, forcing other employers (particularly in the supply chain and retail sectors) to pay up or risk unfilled jobs.
So the first big takeaway is to make sure your wages are keeping up with your market/industry. If you can’t match or exceed the going wage in your region, consider hiring remotely in other regions—or get creative by utilizing some of the talent acquisition strategies in the next sections.
Along with rising wages, wage transparency is becoming increasingly important, with more and more companies including wage rates in their job postings. Since 2016, job postings advertising wage rates have more than tripled; for roles requiring a bachelor’s degree, over half of job postings are now including wage information.
There are a couple of reasons for including wage information in your job postings.
First, wage transparency is becoming expected, if not required. With legislation in New York and Colorado mandating that businesses advertise their wage rates (and with similar legislation appearing in states like Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Nevada), better to work this into your hiring strategy now than having to play catch-up later.
Second, wage transparency can improve your talent acquisition process. On the one hand, it keeps you from wasting your time in conversation with a candidate who is looking for a higher wage than you can give. On the other hand, it increases the chances of applicants who are in the market for the wage you’re offering.
Moving forward in the year, make sure (1) your wage is competitive, and (2) your candidates know it.
Though wage rate is one of the primary tools for attracting talent, it isn’t the only one. For these last four strategies, we’re going to look at some of the creative ways you can use benefits to set yourself apart from the competition.
A simple start is advertising the benefits you’re already providing. The benefits may not be out-of-the-ordinary—but make sure they don’t go unnoticed. For example, over twice as many job postings are advertising retirement benefits now compared to 2016.
Even if you’ve been offering a particular perk for years, now is the time to foreground it. Tell your potential candidates the good things they can expect.
Signing bonuses are one-time financial incentives, often paid via cash or company stock. There’s been significant growth in the use of signing bonuses, more than tripling over the past five years.
Signing bonuses have a variety of applications, such as bridging pay gaps and differentiating your job offer from your competitions’. They’ve often been used to target employees with rare skills and experience and/or high-potential students out of college. But in the middle of labor shortages, companies across all industries are adding them to their toolbelt.
For example, Metro, a transit agency operating in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, is offering a $2,500 signing bonus to new bus drivers. AT&T stores around St. Louis are offering $1,000 signing bonuses to fill local retail positions. And the Luminis Doctors Community Medical Center in Lanham, Maryland, has put $20,000 on the table to find nurses.
Whatever kind of talent you’re looking to attract, signing bonuses can provide the final push to turn candidates into applicants.
Tuition assistance programs help fund employees’ schooling. Depending on the program, they cover part or full tuition for undergraduate students, graduate students, and even high school students. Overall, twice as many job postings now offer tuition assistance compared to 2016.
Tuition-assistance programs are especially useful in attracting early-career talent, giving students the opportunity to get their education while providing value to your company. However, there are also examples of companies (e.g. Anthem) gearing their tuition assistance programs toward graduate students. As with the other benefits, tuition assistance provides quite a bit of latitude for creativity.
On-the-job training refers to formal, onsite instruction, including everything from company bootcamps to development programs. Since 2018, the percentage of job postings advertising on-the-job training has doubled.
On-the-job training is unique in that it pays dividends on both the front and back end of the recruiting process.
On the front end, on-the-job training helps attract talent, promising more out of a job than just a wage. It also widens the pool of available talent from candidates who currently possess the skills you need to candidates who can develop the skills you need.
On the back end, on-the-job training fuels a different kind of strategic recruiting: upskilling. Sometimes an external hire isn’t the best option. If you’re constantly developing your employees, internal recruitment can be a more efficient way to get the skills you need. Use on-the-job training to build intuitive career pathways for your employees, giving them a clear direction toward continuing success.
While these are some of the most up-and-coming hiring strategies, there are many others. Childcare, paid time-off, transportation assistance, hours devoted to community service—the list goes on.
Each benefit has particular appeal to particular audiences (e.g. childcare appeals to working parents), so tailor the benefits you offer to the talent pools you’re hoping to tap. Start by knowing who you want to hire, and the factors at play in hiring them. For a comprehensive overview of the economic dynamics shaping hiring in the new year, check out the 2022 Talent Playbook.
However, in the end, the key to getting and retaining talent is the same as it’s always been: building a great working environment. A recent report by the Harvard Business School, supported by Emsi Burning Glass researchers, found that things like job security, supportive supervisors, and stable hours matter most to low-wage workers in searching for a job. And these are things that any company can provide, regardless of industry or location. As you navigate 2022, make sure you keep sight of your company’s internal dynamic, how it interacts with its clients, and how it provides for its employees.
The ultimate hiring strategy is creating a place where people want to work.
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