Despite Economic Thaw, Recruiters Still Face Many Challenges

By Theresa Minton-Eversole Oct 30, 2014
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Job applicants’ lack of relevant qualifications and the continuing competition for talent are the top reasons many organizations are having a difficult time hiring qualified full-time employees, according to a survey released Oct. 30 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

SHRM’s Survey Findings: 2014 Economic Conditions—Global Competition and Hiring Strategies is part of a multiyear series of survey reports measuring the impact of the U.S. and global recession that began in 2007. SHRM also released related Overall Financial Health and Hiringand Recruiting and Skills Gaps reports on Oct 30. For the survey, more than 3,300 SHRM members were randomly selected and polled from Dec. 16, 2013, though Jan. 16, 2014, representing nine industries. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent.

One-half of respondents said their organizations are having a difficult time recruiting for full-time regular positions. Over one-third of those respondents (37 percent) also reported that qualified candidates reject their organization’s compensation package, so they are looking at providing additional compensation (24 percent), monetary incentives (19 percent), more benefits (14 percent) and training opportunities (37 percent) to attract new employees.

One-fifth of organizations reported having sponsored foreign nationals for H-1B visas to fill their most critical, hard-to-fill positions. And as U.S. troops wind down operations in Afghanistan, another growing source of talent is the military. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of organizations reported hiring veterans for full-time regular positions within the last 12 months.

The most effective recruiting strategies cited to reach job candidates include using social media, expanding advertising efforts and using recruiting agencies (51 percent for each). In addition, 48 percent said they collaborate with educational institutions.

Only 39 percent of organizations reported that they train existing employees to take on hard-to-fill positions. And even though 50 percent of organizations said that competition for talent from other employers impedes their ability to hire, only 37 percent said they are increasing retention efforts.

Considering that two of the top reasons cited for organizations’ hiring difficulties were that job candidates lack the necessary work experience (50 percent) and the needed technical skills (50 percent), many organizations might have to boost their training investments to build qualified talent from within, as well as collaborate with educational institutions, to create a better local talent pool, the report notes.

Theresa Minton-Eversole is an online editor/content manager for SHRM.​

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