The War for Talent: Hiring in a post-pandemic era

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The War for Talent: Hiring in a post-pandemic era

How workers think about their careers and the prioritization benefits received from what they do for a living has pivoted since the reality check of the recent pandemic. It is fairly evident in the North American labor market, which has seen many industries struggle to balance labor demand and supply, creating ripple effects in the economy. Reflecting on our own challenges for finding the right fit in such a unique and growing industry, we sought out the opinions of our panelists to better understand how recently hired workers felt about their job search journey, and how the challenges of hiring managers compared to our own.

The quantitative study was done in both the US and Canada, with respondents from multiple industries including Accounting, Education, Construction, IT, Manufacturing, Shipping, and the list goes on. Retail and Hospitality were the most severely affected industries during the covid-19 pandemic, so respondents from both were excluded from this particular study in order to reduce the variance in opinions. There were two surveys conducted, with questions that related to employers’ recent hiring or workers’ job-hunting experience. The surveys included multiple choice, multiselect, rank/sort, and rating questions, with some options for open ends. For employers, the screener questions addressed the respondent’s level of experience and involvement in the hiring process, and the job-hunter screener ensured workers were recently hired. As is customary with our projects, dtectTM was used in field to safeguard against fraudulent responses and guarantee the highest data quality.

The results

Both employer and worker groups were asked about the main sources for their job applications, and both agreed that online job boards were the primary resource. Platforms like ZipRecruiter and Indeed were among the top sources for reviewing applications to new job postings for hiring managers, with 49% of respondents agreeing. Other sources such as submissions through a dedicated company website (19%) and internal applications (8%) fell far behind. Only 10% of the hiring manager respondents said that professional networking platforms like LinkedIn were their main source of applications. Comparably, 50% of workers said online job boards were the main place they submitted their applications and 45% said they were hired in their current role through these sources.

We asked hiring managers to rank their biggest challenges when hiring new talent and 62% of respondents agreed that finding the right fit was either their main or second most challenging impediment to hiring for a new role. Subsequently, 28% of hiring managers indicated that accessing the appropriate talent pool was their main challenge. The majority of hiring managers also agreed with the ranking of their priorities when looking for new candidates. Finding the right fit was echoed as the company’s top priority (55%), followed by getting a candidate with the right attitude (51%). Getting someone to fill the role quickly was agreed to be the lowest priority, with 49% of respondents agreeing.

Although workers from both the US and Canada expressed that the salary offered was the main priority for negotiation (34%), 46% of US-based respondents indicated that changing the role responsibilities was important to them. Flexible working hours, hybrid arrangements, and other benefits were significant for only 25% of the total respondents. The importance of salary expectations also resonated in the workers’ opinions about their biggest challenges when job hunting. Both US and Canadian workers said that the jobs they were interested in applying to did not have competitive salary expectations. However, 55% of US respondents said that their values were not aligned with the companies that had jobs available in their field.

When it came to job applications, 46% of hiring managers focused on candidates who had current industry experience, with 14% saying the minimum number of years experience required was absolutely necessary. Even though a large quantity of workers (32%) indicated they only applied to jobs where they had direct industry experience, the majority of workers (49%) said they still applied to jobs where they had relevant skills for the role, even though they lacked the relevant experience.

Reflecting the newer outlook of career progression, 37% of workers said they had worked at their previous place of employment for 1-2 years and 59% said it was somewhat to very likely that they would switch jobs again in the next 6 months. 50% of those workers said they were searching for new employment for less than 1 month before finding a new job. When it came to hiring throughout the organizational hierarchy, 44% of hiring managers expressed that the most difficult position to hire for was Intermediate Management positions, while 61% said Entry Level jobs were the most commonly hired. Nevertheless, a noteworthy 30% of hiring managers indicated that Entry Level positions were the most difficult to hire.

The data from this study shows that, with increasing inflation and frequency of unexpected events, workers are thinking about their employment as a means to an end. The influx of creativity and flexibility that was brought on by the pandemic taught workers to think outside the box when it came to career progression and how to earn a living. Their risk appetite is increasing, leading to a labor market with higher turnover than older generations, and increased hiring and onboarding costs. Employers are seeing the momentum for role customization and are reviewing candidates from more diverse backgrounds. As we continue to experience peaks and troughs in specific labor markets (like tech), we will see an exchange of leverage between the employers and workers. As it stands, with employers under the microscope and the right fit being a scarce resource, companies must challenge their status quo by looking to new and creative ways to attract talent.

For more information about who we have profiled on our panel for consumer and business professionals, visit the Markets page of our website or view our Panel Book.


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The War for Talent: Hiring in a post-pandemic era