The most recent monthly jobs report from the Department of Employment Services shows the seasonally adjusted Metro Washington, D.C., unemployment rate for April was 4.4 percent, down 0.4 percentage points from the previous month. In the same period of time, 32,000 Metro Washington, D.C., jobs were added on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, bringing the total number of jobs to 2,579,400. In the District of Columbia itself, the unemployment rate for April was 7.5 percent, down from 7.7 percent the month before, and the number of jobs added was 3,800.
What does this mean for employers in the nation’s capital?
According to Josh Howarth, regional vice president at Robert Half, there continues to be a high demand for skilled professionals needed to staff Washington, D.C. jobs. Some of the most highly sought roles are financial analysts, staff and senior accountants, contracts specialists, executive assistants, customer services specialists and web developers.
How are employers locating promising applicants? Howarth has seen a variety of successful approaches including using social media, working with specialized staffing firms, and good old-fashioned networking.
To secure top talent, Howarth suggests employers move quickly. “A highly qualified professional won’t be on the market for more than a few days in most cases,” he says. “If you find a candidate you like, you need to be prepared to make a competitive offer within a few days’ time.” Additionally, the fact that many candidates have multiple offers on the table means employers need to be more open to salary negotiations, as they are virtually par for the course today.
As the Washington D.C. unemployment rate drops, the confidence of in-demand professional rises. In fact, Howarth notes the area has seen a large increase of employees leaving for new opportunities and higher starting salaries, meaning retention efforts should continue to be a priority for employers. Check in with your team to make certain they’re happy with their current roles, and that you’re staying competitive with the salaries, benefits and incentives you offer.
How does the drop in Washington, D.C. unemployment affect your hiring or retention plans? Let us know in the comments.