No Longer a Candidate's Market-Yet have the challenges really changed?

Just over a year ago the buzz in the market was all about how much today is a buyer’s (candidate’s) market and how there were more jobs than there was talent to fill the openings. From about 2001 to the end of 2007 the economy was souring and the number of jobs being created was increasing at fast rates. It was a time when such statistics as "44 million Gen “X”ers in the workforce to replace 77 million retirees" and "11,000 people are reaching age 55 every day" were staggering numbers that brought fear to employers. During this time the anticipation of the baby boomers retiring as the economy continued to boom created one major question in every recruiter’s mind -“How are we going to find the talent we need to fill our openings?”

The new reality is that there is no longer a shortage of talent. So while these statistics don’t necessarily cause panic in the hearts of hiring professionals today, a new concern has risen. As the economy began taking a noticeable downturn in January 2008 and as the unemployment level continues to rise at a substantial rate, the new concern is not the quantity of candidates to source from, it is finding the quality of candidates amidst all the piles and lists of unqualified applicants. Seventy percent of organizations globally report difficulty attracting critical-skill employees, and 67 percent report that it’s hard to find top-performing employees, according to the results of the 2007/2008 Global Strategic Rewards survey taken among 946 companies by Watson Wyatt Worldwide.

The current problem facing us is that the unemployment rate is the highest it has been in 16 years. In June of 2009 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the unemployment rate at 9.7%. The last time it was above 8% was in January of 1992 when it hit 8.1%. Just a year ago in June of 2008 the unemployment rate was at 5.7%.

While new challenges in finding top talent have surfaced, the message on how to find the right talent does not really change at all. Company’s still need to market themselves to target the right audiences. We may advertise or push our brand in new ways but the underlying goals remain the same. We still need to answer the same questions: “Who is the target audience?” “How do you find or reach them?” “What are we offering?” “What are our competitors offering?” and “How do we engage them?”.

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