Boston Jobs Report: Retention Efforts Are Crucial

According to the most recent monthly jobs report by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the non-seasonally adjusted Boston unemployment rate in July was 4.3 percent. In the same month, the city added 13,200 Boston jobs, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Of the 16 statistical areas for which Massachusetts publishes job estimates, Boston was one of only three that saw jobs gains.

The unemployment rate for Massachusetts remained at a seasonally adjusted 4.7 percent for July, but was down a full percentage point from this time last year. The state also saw jobs gains since the last reporting period, with 7,200 jobs being added in July on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Let’s see what the monthly jobs report means for employers in the Boston area.

The July rate of 4.3 percent is up from April’s 3.8 percent — the city’s lowest since December 2007, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. “The supply continues to get tighter on candidate side in Boston,” says Corey Adams, Robert Half metro market manager. “Candidates have almost complete control. They can demand the pay they want, and they often have multiple offers at any given point.”

“Many of the projects our clients working on now or planning for the next few months that require hiring people are a result of growth and increase in revenues,” Adams says. “In particular, they’re looking for skilled professionals to help them with initiatives such as audit preparation, year-end close, staff augmentation, and system upgrades and implementations, including moving to cloud-based enterprise resource planning systems (ERP).”

Adams notes that skills most often sought for Boston jobs are in the areas of cash reconciliations, account reconciliations, month-end close, full-cycle accounts payable processing, billing and anyone with general ledger exposure. “Technical skills are in huge demand,” he says, “including ERP and revenue cycle knowledge, and excel skills. Additionally, regulatory reporting, swaps and alternative investments are in high demand.”

Not surprisingly, this kind of hiring environment has led to challenges for employers when it comes to recruitment and retention. “Managers are struggling to keep up with the situation,” Adams reports. “Employee retention continues to be a major issue as professionals with multiple options expect higher pay rates and salaries.”

Employee incentives are also pivotal in keeping valued staff on board. “Remember that what sweetens the pot for one employee may not work for the next,” Adams says. “You want to make sure you’re connecting with key players to find out what’s important to them, so you can provide what they need.”

Has the Boston unemployment rate affected your retention planning? Sound off in the comments section below.