According to seasoned talent acquisition specialists, recruiting is getting harder by the day. Most recruiters are experiencing a first – lack of applications. This change in the labor market has been especially notable since the pandemic struck.

For starters, the pandemic led to changes in the hiring process since most organizations had to adjust accordingly. It tipped the equilibrium on the employer-employee power balance. For instance, companies had to adopt virtual technologies – the hiring process and working moved online rather than in-person.

These changes exposed job seekers to more flexibility than ever before, making them more selective. Employers now must provide compelling value propositions to attract job seekers. These propositions include competitive compensation, career development opportunities, and the ability to work from home.

Demand and Supply in the Labor Market

Recent data from the U.S Department of Labor demonstrates changes in the labor market following the pandemic. It shows over 4 million fewer workers in the labor market than before the pandemic. On the other hand, job openings recorded an all-time high – at around 10.9 million.

More people than ever are quitting their jobs every month. The high resignation rate is due to their unwillingness to return to industries that haven’t fully bounced back after the pandemic. The federal unemployment benefits also played a part, although the program ended in September 2021.

Experts believe the demand and supply in the labor market will eventually return to normalcy. But some of the hiring practices that recruiters have adopted will remain long after the pandemic so that they can attract and retain the best employees.

Competitive Wages

In the summer of 2020, the U.S labor market began to rebound. But with the rebound came fierce competition for hourly workers. There were labor shortages – which exposed a long-existing gap – that low-wage workers don’t get paid enough. After decades of slow growth, this new development gave wage growth a surge.

Other organizations thought that the labor shortage would be a short-term problem. And they figured that hiring bonuses would woo employees – proving an instant fix. However, while the dollars are enticing, employees still want creative benefits.

Most of these benefits revolve around alleviating pandemic-induced stress, such as mental health. Organizations are also focusing on professional development more than ever before. A good example is Walmart’s Live Better U. program that covers 100% of tuition and books for employees who qualify for college degrees or other trade skills programs.

The Demand for Remote Working

The pandemic opened employees’ eyes to a whole new dynamic – working from home. Although remote working existed before the pandemic, it became more widespread. And now, it’s the most sought-after employee benefit. People want the comfort of working while still taking care of other aspects of their lives. But that has also expanded the employers’ pool since geographical location is no longer a limiting factor. And for jobs that require employees to be on-site, the shift to remote work had made it difficult, if not impossible, for some employers to find employees.

Although the pandemic strains employers and employees, it has spearheaded many recruitment changes. As the competition for talent increases, organizations will have to streamline a candidate’s experience and offer significant perks.

Are you looking to overcome the labor market challenges? Reach out to our team for HR consulting and so much more.