With job openings in the U.S. continuing to hit record highs, recruiters are looking for something (anything!) that will make their own jobs easier.
But if you were hoping that the end of enhanced unemployment benefits would be the saving grace that finally opens up the talent floodgates, there’s bad news. Separate studies by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Yale University, and the National Bureau of Economic Research came to a similar conclusion: The extra $600 a week received by the unemployed had a marginal effect on labor supply at best.
So what will bring job applicants back? A survey of 300 U.S. recruiters indicates that companies can do a lot to attract job seekers who have different priorities and needs today compared to what they had before the pandemic.
Unnecessary Job Requirements
Despite being a relatively simple and cost-effective solution to bring in more applicants, only 16% of recruiters say that their organization has lowered or removed job application requirements this year.
Given current hiring struggles, it’s time to challenge all of those prerequisite tenets your company holds sacred. Do you really need a bachelor’s degree for that role, especially given that two-thirds of U.S. workers don’t have one and tons of more affordable options for learning important skills exist, such as boot camps and certification programs?
Benefits That Matter
To stand out from the competition, you need to offer perks and benefits that align with the concerns of today’s job-seekers. Noteworthy examples include:
Commuter benefits. Only 21% of companies offered commuter benefits this year, but those that did rated recruiting as 20% less difficult on average. Workers, even in a pandemic, wrack up car maintenance costs — between $2,000 and $5,000 annually. If you plan to have workers come to an office, store, or other worksite long-term, any help you can provide to lower commuting costs or to free up a vehicle for a spouse or other household member can make a difference.
Child care benefits. Despite being offered by only 21% of businesses, we found that organizations who did offer child care benefits rated recruiting as 13% less difficult on average. Among parents who are working remotely all or most of the time, nearly two-thirds have had at least some child care responsibilities during the pandemic. Why not take a chance to appeal to every working parents’ heart by offering a child care stipend, assistance with enrollment in daycare, or even a more flexible schedule?
Pet insurance. The American Pet Products Association says that 12.6 million U.S. households have gotten a new pet since the beginning of the pandemic. Anyone who’s had an emergency vet bill knows how much our furry friends can cost us, so consider offering pet insurance to your employees to give them financial peace of mind. Less than half (47%) of employers offer pet insurance today, but 69% plan to offer it by 2022 or later.
Recruiters at businesses that have allowed employees to work from home this year rate recruiting as 12% less difficult on average compared to those at companies that don’t.
Indeed, the pandemic has opened people’s eyes to the possibilities of remote work, and now there’s no going back — 53% of small-business employees said earlier this year that they are moderately or extremely likely to consider looking for a new job if they aren’t allowed to work from home at least part of the time.
But why not go further and reap even more benefits? By letting employees work from anywhere full time, you can widen your recruiting net considerably. Less than a quarter (22%) of organizations have hired fully remote employees this year, but those that did rate recruiting as 10% easier on average.
Underserved Labor Markets
Even in a labor shortage, there are groups of job-seekers that go unnoticed.
Older workers. Take older workers, for example. Despite being projected as the fastest-growing segment of the workforce through 2024, only 21% of recruiters say they’ve focused more on recruiting workers 65 or older in 2021.
Workers with disabilities. Compared to the 1 in 7 workers in the general population who were laid off between March and August in 2020, 1 in 5 workers with disabilities were given the boot. A majority of accommodations for workers with disabilities cost absolutely nothing, so there’s no excuse as to why only 21% of recruiters in our survey say they have focused more on recruiting workers with disabilities in 2021 compared to previous years.
Job-seekers with criminal records. If you’re automatically dismissing candidates with a criminal background, you could be costing yourself some great employees. A 2018 study found that employees with criminal records tend to stay at jobs longer and quit less often than other workers.
It’s tough out there — 56% of recruiters fear they have job openings that they’ll never be able to fill. It’s hard to imagine a situation so dire that would lead to that sentiment, but that’s where we are right now.
Relief will come, of course. The eventual end of the pandemic will make people more urgent to find work, and schools fully re-opening will relieve working parents of care responsibilities during the day. But in the meantime, there are plenty of levers you likely haven’t pulled to bring in high-quality talent.