Boston Jobs Report: Unemployment Low, Demand for Talent High

The most recent Boston jobs report released by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development puts the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Boston at 4.2 percent. Statewide, Massachusetts’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 4.8 percent, which was 0.1 percent lower than the February rate. The state jobs report shows gains of 18,800 jobs for the Boston area over the month of March, with the highest growth areas being education and health services and professional, scientific and business services.

More employees in the workforce is a positive change, but it can introduce challenges when it comes to hiring. In a recent Robert Half survey of more than 2,100 chief financial officers (CFOs), 68 percent said they had experienced challenges finding skilled candidates for professional-level positions. Fifty-three percent of CFOs polled said their search had been “somewhat challenging,” while 15 percent called the situation “very challenging.”

Ryan Sutton, a senior regional president for Robert Half in Boston, states that the Boston jobs market is different than the national picture, especially in the private sector. He says, “We are seeing two to three times the volume of open positions to readily available applicants in key areas such as regulatory compliance, systems analysts, audit, tax, technical accounting and public accounting.”

Sutton notes that the current hiring market’s ideal candidate “might be the one with the best foundational skill set, aptitude and propensity to learn.” Use the interview process to your advantage and focus on two or three promising candidates, he suggests. As this process can be time-consuming, more employers in the area are working with interim professionals while searching for the ideal hire.

But hiring is not the only area of focus employers should consider. You also want to enhance efforts to retain employees who may be approached with offers from competitors. Providing professional development training and career advancement possibilities are two effective means of keeping employees happy where they are.

Have you seen any changes in the Boston hiring environment? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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