Employment markets are most often measured by unemployment, a
quintessential macroeconomic indicator. Yet, on the microeconomic
level — the level that all companies work on — it is an indicator
that is far from representative. In today’s economy, the headline
unemployment number is perhaps less representative than ever

For many sectors, and more importantly, for many skill sets, the
high unemployment of the last several years remains stubbornly in
place. But those industries and skill sets are being countered by
others that are adding positions and exhausting the talent supply.
Looking at the macro trends, the labor market seems to be at a
standstill, with talent supply perhaps even loosening. Yet, at the
micro level there is a strengthening undertow.

In a recent survey of MRINetwork recruiters — who work
primarily with the professional and managerial segment of the
workforce – 67 percent said they would characterize today’s talent
market as candidate-driven, an increase of 13 points from a year

“In technical areas, there is a severe shortage of talent and
salaries are going up,” said one recruiter in the survey. Another
respondent noted that, “Great candidates are increasingly more
difficult to locate. While technical candidates remain sparse, the
issue has become more widespread and now includes areas such as HR
specialty, accounting, and marketing.”

The level of demand for talent in professional occupations,
though, doesn’t mean full employment. In the most recent report
from the Labor Department, the professional, managerial, and
related unemployment rate was 4.4 percent. Before the recession
that rate was as low as 2.1 percent, but various factors continue
to keep it higher.

“The message from [the] C suite is ‘do more with less.’ There’s
no room for marginal players,” as one recruiter put it. While
employers are hiring, recruiters note more and more of those
searches being for “white tigers,” with lists of requirements that
screen out almost all possible candidates.

“Employers remain too focused on finding a candidate who has
every bit of experience on the company description. Employers still
feel that plenty of people are available because of erroneous news
reports about unemployment,” noted a recruiter.

Once the right candidate is found, the need to act quickly has
become more urgent. According to the survey, 60 percent of accepted
offers were made less than four weeks after the first interview,
and 47 percent were made after two interviews or less, a 10 and 19
point increase from a year earlier. Yet, that is an urgency many
employers still don’t recognize.

As one recruiter recounted about the situation, “Employers …
are afraid to make the wrong hire. Before the recession, we were
hearing things like, ‘We know he doesn’t have that one thing we
were looking for but everyone liked him and we are going to make an
offer anyway.’ Now we are hearing things like, ‘everyone liked him
and he has everything we are looking for but we’ve decided we now
also want this.'”

The headline numbers for some time will continue to show a labor
market where unemployment is high, job growth is low and people
remain ready and available to work. In some segments that is true,
but using that philosophy in other parts of the market will result
in top candidates turning down offers, and critical positions being
left unfilled.

In the News…

Paying Attention to Retention You've likely started to see a shift in headlines. No longer focused on what we have been through, the new emphasis is on what’s to come. Though it… Read More »

Job Application Process: Stay Sane The Job Application Process Can Be Frustrating. Here's How to Stay Sane The job application process is hardly ever easy. After all, it can sometimes… Read More »

The No. 1 recruitment metric employers track when assessing a new hire’s effectiveness After completing multiple rounds of interviews and presenting a job offer to a promising candidate, the work has in many ways just begun. Now that th… Read More »

Craft a Change Narrative How to Craft a Strong Change Narrative for Your Company When your company is undergoing major change, it can be a tough transition for everyone, e… Read More »

More News