You’ve probably been hearing this term quite often these days, but it’s actually been going on for quite some time.
What we’re now calling the talent war is simply the (largely unmet) demand for, well, top talents. For the longest time, companies who can afford to have competed to hire the best in their industry. For the longest time, the talent war largely pertained to people in top leadership positions, the ones whose decisions had the most impact on a company’s survival and growth.
Having the right people on your team improves productivity, increases profitability, and eventually saves you money. It’s arguably one of the most important investments you should make – especially in this pandemic.
But now, companies are having trouble filling both skilled and unskilled roles. Even more so than usual.
Sure, there’s plenty of remote talent out there. However, looking for the right person to fill a particular job remains challenging. Currently, research shows that 58 percent of employers are struggling to do exactly that.
Where are all the good workers, you ask? Here are three reasons why there’s a talent shortage going on – and what you can do about it:
Social and Demographic Changes
Baby boomers stick to one stable job or career until they retire. Well, they could afford to. The economy was quite different in their time, and job security still existed. Plus, their generation equates tenure and seniority with job satisfaction, so they didn’t do a lot of job-hopping.
However, both time and the pandemic have compelled boomers to retire earlier than expected and the lack of workers with the same level of skill and experience have left behind a gaping chasm.
Also, younger generations have a very different outlook on work compared to their predecessors.
For instance, 50 percent of millennials don’t plan to stay in a company for more than a year. Six out of 10 are open (and are even leaning towards) switching jobs. Quite a handful have also left the workforce to be stay-at-home parents and/or to put up their own businesses.
Not that you can blame them. For many, it just isn’t worth it to climb the corporate ladder anymore. Promotions these days take much longer, what with slower business growth in the past two decades and toxic work politics muddling the process.
The gap between the costs of living and current wages are also wider than ever, with little hope of relief.
Like I said earlier, the original talent war focused on leadership skills, and that hasn’t changed. But these days, other skills are in demand too.
Automation may have eliminated the need for certain jobs, but they’ve also caused a shortage in other fields. 69% of companies reported talent shortages last year, with many struggling to fill positions that require manual labour. Think manufacturing plant workers, truck drivers, and even restaurant personnel.
With wages increasing for people working in the digital fields, it’s only natural that more and more people are heading in that direction. Perhaps it’s also time to re-evaluate the wages in other industries then.
Increased Employee Expectations
Modern employees aren’t pushovers. Back in the day, many workers would beg to stay in low-paying jobs. However, millennials are now the largest generation in the labor force – and the ball is currently in their court. You can bet that they’ll play to win.
Younger employees want to work with companies that serve a greater mission and behave responsibly. They’re also big on maintaining a good work-life balance, and now that the pandemic has proven that it’s not only possible to operate and manage a business remotely, it won’t be easy to force them back into a traditional office.
So, if your business is compatible with remote work, that already gives you an advantage over your competitors who aren’t.
How Your Company Can Cope
There’s clearly a huge paradigm shift in the hiring/retention process now, so you may want to make some key changes to avoid the worst of the looming talent shortage:
Define job roles and create more realistic expectations.
Take a long, hard look at those job roles you find so difficult to fill. Are all those requirements really necessary? Can one person actually take on all those jobs and responsibilities? And most importantly, is the salary you’re offering commensurate to the role?
If the answer to at least two of the questions is “no,” you ought to write a new job post. Or split the existing one into several others. That might serve you better than expecting someone with, I dunno, 15 years’ of job experience willing to accept entry-level pay to walk in. (Because that person doesn’t exist, duh.)
If you can, restructure to offer more competitive wages.
Speaking of wages, don’t expect senior-level talent on junior-level pay. Seriously.
Yes, it’s not easy to raise wages, but it can be done with strategic adjustments. Have a look at last year’s budget and see where you can pinch pennies so you can offer top dollar to the right person (who’ll turn out to be priceless).
If you can’t, give your employees other reasons to stay.
Can’t do no. 2? Think about non-monetary benefits you can offer then.
How about a more flexible working schedule? More work from home options? More opportunities for growth in the company? Internal mentoring? Or just a plain old “Good job” with a (virtual) pat on the back from time to time?
The list is endless. Feel free to exhaust it.
The war for talent is now part and parcel of the new normal. Having a competitive talent strategy should be a priority if you want your business to thrive.
And if you’re unsure about how to start, well you’re in luck.
For the past 15 years and counting, Remote Staff has been steadily building a rich, varied, and steady pool of skilled and talented remote workers from the Philippines to help AU entrepreneurs scale their businesses as they rise to the challenges presented by a digital future.
So, whether you need a talented virtual assistant or even an entire team of graphic designers, we got you covered.