Here’s the One Employment Trend You Need to Be Aware Of

employment trends to be aware of

For busy hiring managers, it can be difficult to keep track of developments in the employment market. Unemployment rate, initial jobless claims, job openings … the data aren’t always easy to interpret and can quickly blur together. Don’t worry, we can boil it all down for you into a single employment trend: The demand for skilled talent is growing.

Employers seek new hires with specialized skills to work on complex initiatives — everything from implementing new software systems to ensuring compliance with regulatory mandates to developing mobile apps. Unfortunately for growing businesses, relatively few of these professionals are looking for a job. And those that are on the job hunt often have multiple employment offers to choose from.

Managers in every industry are discovering that, in order to keep up with this employment trend, they have to bolster their salary and benefits offerings. According to research we’ve conducted for our annual Salary Guides, starting salaries are expected to increase an average of 4.1 percent in the coming year. The increase is even sharper in certain fields, like technology (5.3 percent) and finance and accounting (4.7 percent).

(Be sure to download free copies of our newest Salary Guides for insight into specific industries and salary ranges for more than 750 positions.) 

But simply offering higher compensation isn’t enough. Here are three more ways you can build the team your business needs to succeed:

1. Explain why your firm is the best

Again, the dominant employment trend today is that specialized skills are in demand. So professionals with these abilities are in the driver’s seat. That means you’ll need to “sell” your company during the hiring process so top applicants understand why your opportunity is the best. 

It starts with your job posting. Are you using it to highlight key reasons your workplace is unique? That could include mentioning that your business recently received a “best place to work” award from the local press or that giving back to the community is one of the organization’s core principles.

Offer more details — and more examples — when you speak or meet with job seekers. Think hard about the reasons you enjoy working for the firm. It may be that the small company you work for is able to promise better work-life balance or that your employer’s large size enables the firm to provide an outstanding benefits package. 

Be sure promising candidates meet with others on the team to hear firsthand why your organization is a top employer.

2. Be ready to negotiate

Expect that candidates will push back on your initial job offer. Job candidates with in-demand skills know they have leverage given current employment trends, and most aren’t afraid to use that to their advantage. 

Before extending a job offer, have a salary range in mind. Know what your upper limit is and how flexible you can be. You want to do what you can to convince a top candidate to join your firm. But you don’t want to go overboard. Doing so can throw off your budget or create tension in the workplace if others on the team find out the new hire’s salary and feel underpaid. 

If you really can’t afford to offer as much money as the professional is requesting, get creative. Can you offer nonmonetary perks like telecommuting options and more vacation time instead? Is it possible to re-evaluate the salary in six months or a year? Here are even more tips for negotiating salary with a job candidates.

3. Make retention a priority

If your team is already understaffed, today’s dominant employment trend can make it difficult to bring reinforcements on board quickly. That, in turn, can hinder employee retention efforts if your staff feel overworked or underappreciated.  

You need to focus on ways to hold onto the valuable talent you already have. One way is to improve career development and advancement opportunities within your organization. By giving employees the tools they need to excel with your firm, you not only build trust and loyalty, but you also reap the rewards of their new skills. 

Improving retention may also come down to you and your management style. Even if an employee likes the work she’s doing, she could be prompted to leave if she doesn’t mesh well with those in charge. 

Improve your leadership skills by communicating openly, honestly and frequently, and by giving praise when it’s due. Embrace diversity by recognizing and capitalizing on the differences in your team, and be sure to master conflict resolution in case any interpersonal problems arise. Show your workers that you respect them by gradually giving them new responsibilities and more autonomy. 

Having trouble finding specialized talent or getting the best job candidates to join your team? Robert Half can help! Contact our nearest office to speak to one of our expert staffing professionals and get the assistance you need.