5 Stats That Show Just How Competitive The Current Labor Market Is

How your recruiting strategy fits into the larger economic picture.

We’ve heard about instances of “candidate ghosting,” and employers are constantly being told that this is the tightest labor market seen in years. But just how competitive is the current labor market, and how does it affect day-to-day recruitment operations? To help you understand how your current recruitment strategy fits into the bigger economic picture, we rounded up the most compelling stats that showcase just how tight today’s labor market really is and what it means for talent acquisition professionals.  

1. The U.S economy is undergoing the largest economic expansion it has ever seen.

During the Great Recession of 2008, the U.S. economy experienced a devastating decline that negatively affected wages, employment, and business growth. The Recession officially ended in June 2009, and since then, the economy has steadily recovered and entered a boom. As of June 2019, this decade-long period earns the distinction as the longest economic expansion in U.S. history

2. The unemployment level is the lowest it’s been in 50 years.

Corresponding with strong economic growth, unemployment in the U.S. has also decreased. The economy is now consistently adding new jobs, including in traditionally white-collar professions. For example, in April 2019, the U.S. economy added a staggering 263,000 jobs, pushing the unemployment rate to the lowest level it’s been in nearly 50 years. Digging even deeper into the data, the employment numbers look even better for recent graduates and college graduates, who are more likely to be employed than U.S. workers overall. Similarly, underemployment for college graduates has also been decreasing over the past few years, giving new employees the chance to apply their professional skills to a wide variety of careers.

3. Employers are opening positions to candidates without college degrees in order to increase the applicant pool. 

A college degree is often a prerequisite for entry-level positions, and some companies have historically preferred to hire full-time employees exclusively from their class of summer interns. And while some companies have hired candidates without a bachelor’s degree for some time now, this practice is becoming even more common in today’s economy. According to a survey by PayScale, 50% of respondents said they are hiring more candidates that don’t have college degrees than before, and job descriptions that require a college degree have decreased in recent years. More specifically, employers in booming industries like tech are coping with labor shortages by lessening or eliminating educational requirements. For new employees without an educational credential, professional development opportunities and on-the-job training can be more of a draw than ever before.

4. Job prospects for the Class of 2019 are significantly higher compared to the Class of 2018.

Recent college graduates are very well-positioned for gainful employment. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers intend to hire 11% more graduates from the class of 2019 than they did from the class of 2018. Not only are employers increasing their college hires compared to last year, but the job outlook for recent graduates is the best it’s been since 2007, right before the Great Recession. This means that employers are facing stiff competition from other companies looking to hire the same students and will need to do even more to make their company an attractive choice.

5. An estimated 43 percent of Gen Z employees have “ghosted” an employer.

With the strong economic outlook, new graduates are confident enough to jump on better job opportunities as they arise. According to a study conducted by recruitment firm Randstad US, 43 percent of Gen Z employees have accepted a job and then reneged – or, to use online dating lingo, they’ve “ghosted.” This compares to about a quarter of millennials and Gen X employees who have reneged on a job offer. For Gen Z, the strong economy is the new normal and they believe they can pick and choose where they want to go. It’s no longer enough that a Gen Z candidate has been offered a job; that job has to be particularly appealing, since there’s a good chance there are multiple offers on the table.

With so many job opportunities available, it has become more important than ever for employers to provide a great candidate experience, competitive pay, and great benefits in order to snag the best employees. If you are actively recruiting entry-level employees in this tight labor market, consider different ways to make your company stand out as a top employer. Whether you use innovative on-campus recruitment strategies, unique sourcing techniques like social media, or revamped offer packages, it is essential for employers hiring in this market to go above and beyond to attract the best candidates.


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