It’s Still a Job Seekers’ Market

January 2022
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As we start 2022, the pandemic-era job market is still being driven by job seekers. Companies are working harder than ever to fill their many open positions. Applicants are in a unique place of power where there are plenty of open jobs and less competition. As a result, businesses are responding by fine-tuning their hiring processes and offering more competitive salaries, better workplace flexibility and enhanced benefits. 

The Great Resignation and various other ongoing pandemic-related hiring challenges that firms are experiencing are not likely to end soon. Particularly in public relations, employers are vying for talent in the same narrow pool. 

What should employers know about identifying and hiring top talent in this increasingly competitive labor market? Let’s review some key points:

1. Expedite and simplify the process.

Recruitment marketing strategies, application processes and interviewing timeline must be candidate-centric, mobile friendly, flexible and swift. A simple way to expedite the interview process is by reducing the number of people required to interview an applicant. Scale back to decision-makers only! Also make applying as easy as possible by offering a way to apply from a mobile device. 

2. Be competitive and decisive.

Candidates will often have numerous offers of employment to consider. Gone are the days where you can drag out decision-making, so you must be clear about what you are looking for in an employee from the get-go. There have been sharp increases in salary expectations, too, so prepare to be competitive to land the finest talent. Leave room for negotiations. 

3. Use your network via incentives.

If you don’t have one already, then you should implement an employee referral bonus program. Your happy employees will always be the best advocates for your firm, and they also care deeply about the values and culture of the organization. Provide lucrative incentives to staffers who refer someone who is hired. You will still end up saving money that you might have otherwise spent on an external headhunter. 

4. Focus on DE&I.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the forefront of client and consumer demand, and employers need to reflect a commitment to DE&I within their ranks. You must incorporate DE&I into your talent strategy. An organization that cannot speak to their efforts and initiatives around DE&I will fall flat to job seekers. 

5. Understand that workplace flexibility is a must.

The traditional workplace is a thing of the past. The ability to work from home — part time or all of the time — is a must-have for many job seekers. Companies have to seriously consider offering long-term virtual or hybrid work options. This is a plus, because it gives you access to a broader, more diverse talent pool. Virtual work also leads to a quicker time to hire in many cases, too! Embrace the technology available to make “virtual” a successful model for your firm.

6. Realize that financial motivations aren’t enough.

Applicants are looking for positive workplace cultures, pathways to promotion, robust benefits, flexibility and more. A sign-on bonus alone is often not enough to secure a hire. 

Outside of perks and benefits, you must figure out what your employee value proposition is — what are you offering to your employees and what keeps them happy? How do you manage burnout and wellness? Rely heavily on feedback from your employees, and tell your story on social media. 

7. Upskill to retain the staff you have.

People are quitting their jobs in record numbers. Take the necessary steps to invest in training and upskilling your existing staff. Keep the talent that you have happy by offering plenty of opportunity for growth and learning at all levels. You can solve the issue of a skills-gap internally, and this can save your business time and money, as well as boost employee satisfaction. 

Adapting to the rapid rate of change that the COVID-19 pandemic is triggering in workforce demands is the key to identifying, hiring and retaining the top talent in our profession. 

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