Hiring in a Full Employment Economy
Most economists agree that the Great Recession ended in 2009, thereby starting the national economy’s long road to recovery. In more recent years, the economy has grown rapidly, with hundreds of thousands of jobs being added and large numbers of people going back to work. As of March 2018, unemployment has fallen to 4.1%, its lowest point in 15 years. As such, the economy is now at what most economists agree is “full employment.” This development presents unique challenges for employers and a host of opportunities for candidates. How your organization approaches a full employment economy may well dictate how successful you are in this time of exponential growth.
“Full employment” does not mean that everyone has a job, or that the unemployment rate will reach zero. It also does not mean that there are no jobs left to be filled or that there are no people wishing to fill them. What it means is that the unemployment rate is likely as low as it can go before inflation kicks in. Interestingly, most experts thought full employment would occur when we reached 5% unemployment, which we have now surpassed. Whether that means inflation is in the immediate future remains to be seen.
In addition to the possibility of inflation, there are other important implications of a full employment economy. For instance, the Federal Reserve is once again considering when it should raise interest rates, although there is much debate ongoing on that topic. Wages are rising (and will likely continue to) though the increases have been slow. Additionally, there are still many individuals who aren’t necessarily counted in the unemployment rate, as they have stopped actively looking for jobs. But the primary implication that exists in full employment conditions is a significantly tighter job market. That means it’s harder than ever to find qualified, highly skilled candidates who are unemployed or are willing to switch jobs.
If you’re a qualified job candidate, this is largely good news. There aren’t many of you out there right now, and most will have a variety of interested employers to choose from. This is a big advantage for job seekers or those willing to change jobs as they can leverage a full employment economy for more money, flexibility, and upward mobility. But for employers, challenges abound. Companies looking to hire in a full employment economy need to understand the hyper-competitive environment that they are working in. To find the best candidates, employers need to move quickly and efficiently, pay competitive salaries, increase flexibility, have well-defined roles, and pursue every avenue to find qualified individuals.
The most effective method of navigating a full employment job search is to partner with an organization like Schaffer Associates who has experience in this kind of competitive process. We understand what it takes to identify and target the best potential candidates for a given position, and we know how to manage the challenges inherent in a tight job market. Regardless of the impacts of a full employment economy, our team can help yours find the top talent available for the positions you have available. Call us today.
Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Schaffer Associates is a national management consulting firm specializing in executive search and organizational strategies for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As the premier management consulting firm serving the industry, we help build organizations and leadership teams that foster corporate growth and success well into the future.