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Time to Fill Has Longest Duration Since 2001

by Aug 14, 2014, 4:46 am ET

time to fill by industryThe time to fill open positions has reached a national average of just about 25 days, the lengthiest job vacancy period in the 13 years covered by the DICE‐DFH Vacancy Duration Measure.

The monthly report on time to fill and recruiting efforts says that on average it took 24.9 working days (Monday-Saturday) in June to post, source, and hire a new employee. That’s more than nine days longer than it took at the height of the recession in July 2009. Then, the average was 15.3 working days.

The report produced by careers sites publisher Dice Holdings Inc. follows a report Tuesday from the Labor Department on job openings and turnover. The report showed there were more job openings in the country — 4.7 million as of the last day of June — than at any time since February 2001. In June 2013, there were 4 million openings.

In addition, the report said 2.7 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in June, many of them to take another one. That compares to 2.4 million the year before.

Over the previous 12 months, the report said businesses reported a total of 55.7 million hires. Separations — voluntary or otherwise — came to 53.3 million for a net gain of 2.4 million jobs.

An increase in the labor force, and individuals working more than one job, took up some of those positions. The numbers, though, suggest that more jobs are staying open longer and some are simply going unfilled.

That’s among the explanations for the growing delay in filling jobs shown by the Dice job vacancy report. The Wall Street Journal said its survey of small business owners found a third of them unable to find workers with the skills they need.

Last month, The Brookings Institution released an in-depth study of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) job vacancies, finding, “The median duration of advertising for a STEM vacancy is more than twice as long as for a non-STEM vacancy.” Advertising a STEM job requiring a professional degree averages 50 days, compared to 33 days for a non-STEM position.

Concludes the report, “The principle finding is that there is a relative shortage of U.S. workers with STEM skills. In other words, STEM skills are in high demand relative to supply, and the problem is especially acute in certain metropolitan areas, where the average vacancy for STEM workers takes months to fill.”

There is also the so-called perfect candidate hypothesis as promulgated by Peter Cappelli, professor of management and Director of the Center for Human Resources at Wharton. In his article he argues that hiring managers and companies are both too choosy and too unwilling to invest in training for less experienced workers.

Average Days to FillRegardless of what’s behind the lengthening time to fill, the Dice analysis shows that some industries have vacancy durations far above average. No surprise that the information sector, which includes the challenging tech industry, takes 38.9 days to fill a job. It’s the longest among the sectors covered in the report.

Government takes 36.7 days from opening to offer acceptance. Manufacturing jobs stay vacant now more than twice as long as they did in 2009, taking an average of 29.2 days to fill.

The hiring delay is longest at the nation’s largest companies. Those with 5,000 or more employees take 58.1 working days to fill a job.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  • http://www.EngineeringReferral.com Douglas Friedman

    Thanks John. This is interesting and aligned with what we’re seeing when it comes to STEM candidates. Something we’ve been talking a lot about recently inside our company is bifurcation in corporate talent acquisition efficiency. Among our clients and the organizations in our extended professional networks, we see TA departments clearly falling into two camps right now. On the one hand, you have companies that are recognizing the rapidly increasing competitiveness in STEM recruiting and they are strengthening their internal TA teams, being more aggressive about the offers they are making to STEM candidates (both in terms of more money and laying out clearer career paths), and they are adopting new technologies to give them an edge (no, I don’t mean to infer that this just means using crowdsourcing companies like ours to increase candidate pools – there are all kinds of cool, innovative, new technologies out there that add real value at different points in the recruiting and onboarding lifecycle). The other group of companies is hunkering down, renewing their LinkedIn and Monster licenses, and hoping that their time-to-fill metrics magically improve. This second group is also slowly losing their best, most technically capable recruiters to companies in the first camp. This situation reminds me of the recruiting landscape as I remember it in the mid to late 1990s. Back then some companies were upping their offers and adopting new Internet sites and technologies to strengthen their recruiting capabilities. Others refused to look at their salary structures, kept running “help wanted” ads in newspapers, used pen and paper for everything, and ignored new technology. Of course, this all changed pretty quickly and I think we are at a similar inflection point right now. It’s true that to some degree the above is always the case. There have always been first-adopters and companies that are more or less aggressive in terms of compensation, etc. But I think at certain points, now being one of them, that the differences become glaringly obvious. Companies that have the same TA toolkits they did five years ago and are making the same offers they did five years ago are going to have a tough time in today’s market. A lot has changed in the past five years! One of our most active clients has tripled their engineering and IT hiring in the last two years while slashing their time-to-fill metrics across the board by close to 50%. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that whenever I have the chance to speak with this company’s TA director, she is telling me about new software and sites that they are either evaluating or adopting. When I get off the phone with her, I always find myself Googling up companies and products that I hadn’t even heard of before that she already has her staff using. I also have to deal with people that act like adopting a new tool or doing a thorough compensation analysis is somehow admitting defeat but complain about candidate scarcity. Anyway, it’s great to have more data to confirm what we’ve been seeing in terms of the STEM market becoming more competitive. I think the Brookings Institution report you link to is really great (Brookings does fantastic work) and it’s nice to see ERE referencing its conclusions.

    Doug Friedman
    http://www.EngineeringReferral.com
    My LinkedIn Profile

  • http://www.medievalrecruiter.com/ Medieval Recruiter

    Duration of the vacancy is not evidence for a shortage. I took me a year to admit I had to buy a new computer because up until the point I did, I didn’t want to pay for it. There was no shortage of computers. A shortage means you can’t find something. It doesn’t mean you found it but were unwilling to pay for it. And in my experience both in corporate and agency, the latter instance out numbers the former to such a degree that actual shortages are negligible to non existent.