Despite a widely-accepted belief that hiring slows down around the holidays, nonfarm payroll in Q4 of 2019 is expected to be higher than Q3, with CNBC reporting a surge in November far exceeding expectations by economists. In fact, “jobs growth was the best since January […] and well clear of the November 2018 total.”
Before the New Year might just be the right time to make those hires rather than putting recruitment on ice for several months.
The labor market shows no signs of making it easier for companies to find the top talent that they need. Companies seeking highly technical and skilled candidates should take note, because recruitment will be especially challenging for them as we embark on 2020.
Though the unemployment rate has been reported between 3.5% and 3.7% for the past year, this general figure doesn’t speak to the high demand for candidates with college educations. For people with a bachelor’s degree and higher, the unemployment rate has been even lower. Hovering around 2.0% and 2.1% since the beginning of the year. These numbers translate to extremely competitive hiring.
Take Advantage of the Last Quarter
Companies seeking to fill highly technical and skilled positions can gain a competitive edge in finding the top talent by taking advantage of fourth-quarter hiring as well as outsourcing recruitment.
Careers contributor to Forbes.com Liz Ryan notes that, because December 31 is the most common fiscal year-end, teams risk losing budget if they leave vacancies unfilled. “Companies large and small have allocated money to hiring new people, but if they don’t hire those people by the end of the year, the approved headcount may disappear.”
Employers also have the added incentive of being able to take advantage of federal tax deductions for hiring expenses, like online job ads, networking events, and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Waiting those few months could mean losing the change for these write-offs and the opportunity to staff up, so hiring managers are especially motivated to get candidates in before the turn of a calendar year.
This is not to say there isn’t a slow-down in hiring during this period, though. KRT Marketing’s blog notes that there is, in fact, less competition for talent, making interviewing easier and offers more attractive. Competing recruiters can also be less attentive to stacks of resumes that have piled up over the holidays. Those that get ahead of this game can gain first access to those top recruits.
Gain a Competitive Edge in Recruitment
With the highly competitive labor market and major demand for candidates with skills in emerging technologies (ET) and information and communication technologies (ICT), in particular, companies might find it extremely challenging to fill these roles effectively.
The Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association reports that “If the organization is serious about finding great candidates and getting those positions filled, then they may outsource their recruiting to source candidates in more places, to improve their employment branding, and/or work on the job descriptions for these positions.”
Especially for high-tech roles, outsourcing recruitment enables leaders to focus on their core responsibilities and benefit from serious savings. According to the Society for Human Resource Management estimates that employers spend an average of $4,129 per job on hiring.
A critical aspect of recruitment that can be overlooked is the role that digital tactics play. From scouring social media to utilizing digital ads, talent acquisition staff need to know more about marketing than ever before. “At companies that still do their own recruitment and hiring, managers trying to fill open positions are largely left to figure out what the jobs require and what the ads should say.” Traditional tactics can no longer be relied on as the primary or only source for candidates, and outsourcing allows employers to optimize their recruitment process quickly.
The reason behind a slow fourth quarter for hiring is the general slow-down of business at this time of year. The beginning of the year is go-time for businesses, making it an especially challenging time for those businesses to take attention away from strategic goals to find talent.
By taking advantage of this time of year to find those top recruits, businesses can help them devote this slow period to onboarding, training, and gaining a sense of the culture, allowing them to hit the ground running when the New Year arrives.
No Time Like the Present for ET and ICT
The short- and long-term future are promising for professionals in the ET and ICT space, but with major progress will come an extremely competitive landscape. The fourth industrial revolution continues to make an impact across industries, with the growing usage of analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning.
In its State of IT report, Spiceworks says, “Business adoption of AI-powered technologies is expected to triple by 2021, while adoption of edge computing is expected to double.”
The result of the major changes taking place, the Brookings Institution reported, “Emerging technologies such as AI, IoT, and blockchain will continue to influence the IT industry into 2022. While growth in expenditures on traditional technologies (hardware, software, services, and telecom) is expected to largely mimic the single-digit GDP growth over this period, growth in advanced technologies is anticipated to be much more prolific, stretching into the double digits and commanding an increasingly greater share of total IT spending.”
Both the private and public sector are expected to continue aggressive development in these key technologies, especially as smart city technology takes off. Government and commercial bodies alike stand to gain immensely from these developments, which means growth in both ET and ICT. “The answer lies in making cities ‘smarter’ by efficient management of resources and infrastructure, greener environment, and smart governance resulting in a better quality of living of its citizens,” according to the article “The Role of Communication Technologies in Building Future Smart Cities, Smart Cities Technologies” in IntechOpen.
According to ZDNet, hiring in ET and ICT will continue to be especially difficult. “Even in industries (such as information and communication technology, or ICT) where employment demand is predicted to be positive, the [World Economic Forum] report flagged up the conjunction of ‘hard-to-recruit specialist occupations with simultaneous skills instability across many existing roles’ as an approaching challenge.
Companies have no time to lose in filling these critical and high-demand roles. Waiting until 2020 to focus on getting the right talent in the door could result in long and highly competitive recruitment processes come Q1. Advances in the technologies that drive these industries do not stand to slow down for the holidays, and companies looking to hire shouldn’t either.