New federal data may shed light on why Austin’s hiring environment has become tighter than ever. In 2017, Austin’s economy grew faster than every other major metro in America. With real gross domestic product at around $148.8 billion, Austin’s GDP increased by 6.9 percent in 2017, up from $135.9 billion the previous year. It’s a growth trajectory that could begin to slow for one reason: the ongoing war for talent.
The economy is on an upward rush, with low unemployment rates and a historic bounceback from the Great Recession. This means there’s more competition for qualified job seekers to fill open positions as companies enjoy the benefits of a bull run economy.
William Mellor, Vice President at Angelou Economics, an Austin-based economic consulting firm, puts it this way: “We have every reason to believe that future (gross domestic product) growth will still top the charts, (but) it is likely that we’ll see lower rates of growth going forward” due to “labor constraints.” Employers, Mellor says, are struggling to fill open positions as demand for candidates heats up. Although Mellor believes Austin can and will attract plenty of new talent from around the world, he still suggests that the transition will take time and slow overall growth. “The growth of Austin going forward is really going to be dictated by the ability of employers to fill up open positions,” Mellor says
Are You Prepared for This Economy?
As the economy continues to change, we need the workforce to support it. Right now, the demand for skilled and talented employees in the Austin metro area exceeds the supply, meaning your dream candidate may already be getting a compelling offer from your competitors. Do you have a strategy in place that will set you up to compete in the war for talent?
There are a few ways you can be prepared for the workforce shortage that’s already descending on the Austin metro area.
Develop a Workforce Plan
Too few business owners think ahead when it comes to hiring, instead filling positions as they go. This strategy (or lack thereof) only works in a job market where the employers have the advantage; in other words, not this one. A workforce plan provides you with a roadmap by first predicting employment needs and then backward planning your hiring and onboarding process. For instance, if you think ahead and know you’ll likely need an administrative assistant by spring of 2019, and you know it takes around 3-4 months to find the right candidates and conduct interviews, you’ll need to start posting jobs around the first of the year. A workforce plan takes the guesswork out of hiring and predicts your future needs.
Polish Your Recruiting Pitch
In a job market like today’s, you won’t get a “yes” from your ideal candidate without working for it. Chances are, your candidate is already considering several offers or knows there are plenty of other opportunities available. Practice your recruiting pitch and remember that the job interview is as much for the candidate to assess you and your company as it is for you to assess them.
Take a Close Look at Your Employment Perks
In a competitive job market, you’ll have to convince job seekers that your company is the one to choose. Perks like flexible time off, tuition waivers for higher education seekers, and professional growth opportunities may make all the difference. Don’t think only in terms of salary when making an offer to a candidate: a 2017 FlexJob survey found that respondents favored work-life balance over a higher salary.
For more help navigating the war for talent, contact us.