Here is a summary of key data from the just-released Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  • The number of job openings changed little to 7.1 million in October, up from 7.0 million in September.
  • The number of people hired went up slightly to 5.9 million, and the number of people who voluntarily or involuntarily left their jobs saw minimal changes at 5.6 million. 
  • The number of employees who quit their jobs was little changed at 3.5 million. 
  • The number of people laid off or who otherwise left their companies involuntarily was the same as September at 1.7 million. 
  • In the last 12 months, ending in October, people hired totaled 67.8 million and people who left their jobs, voluntarily or involuntarily, totaled 65.3 million – a net employment gain of 2.5 million. 

It’s the time of year when many companies are hiring seasonal workers, and this trend is reflected in the latest JOLTS report: Job vacancies were higher at 7.1 million in October, according to the JOLTS survey, well above the number of unemployed people in the same time period at just above 6 million. 

The ratio of unemployed people per job opening was 0.9 in October, a new low. The bottom line: There’s less than one available candidate per open job in the U.S. at the moment. 

Whether you want to add temporary staff to help with seasonal fluctuations or you need full-time team members, significant competition for top talent continues to make hiring a challenging prospect for many employers. 

JOLTS report takeaway: Focus on retention

For employers, retention is key in a competitive hiring environment. Here are some of our top tips:

  • Check compensation. It’s not a surprising piece of advice, but it’s an important one. Highly skilled employees have many options right now, so regularly check salaries to make sure they are in line with your industry and region. Offer spot bonuses for outstanding work if it’s in your budget.  

To compare your salaries against starting salaries for similar companies in your area, be sure to download our Salary Guides.

  • Offer training. Most workers want to continually build their skills, which is critical to remaining relevant in a fast-moving business environment. Help improve each team member’s leadership, interpersonal or technical skills by offering compensation for relevant training courses, whether online or at a nearby college. 
  • Check in. Are team members challenged in their roles? What are their professional goals, and how can you help them reach them? These are questions you should ask each person on your team. Managers who express genuine interest in the career goals of team members, and help them reach those objectives, have an easier time retaining top employees.

Remember that retention strategies don’t have to be expensive. Check out these low-cost ways to keep your team happy and motivated now and into 2019. 

Hiring? One of the top tips from our recruiters in a competitive environment is to speed up your hiring process. When candidates have multiple options, they may accept an offer from another company while you’re considering whether or not to ask them in for that fifth interview. Don’t delay an offer if the candidate is a good match for the job and they have strong references.  

New year, new job? 

Given the JOLTS report quit rate numbers, many workers are feeling confident about finding new positions if they aren’t satisfied with their current ones. If you’re one of them, now is a great time to update your LinkedIn profile and application materials so you’re ready for a job hunt in the new year. Here are some posts full of advice to help you get started: