Unemployment Near Record Lows: Who Can You Hire?

With unemployment hovering near record lows, employers are finding it tough to fill some positions. They’re starting to change tactics, often looking at previously ignored groups of jobseekers or changing how they attract applicants altogether. Let’s take a look.

Who Can You Hire?

Employers have been focusing more efforts on groups they may not have targeted in the past. For example, employers are now more likely to actively recruit:

  • Retirees, who may be looking for ways to stay active or to make additional income;
  • People who are homeless, who traditionally may have been overlooked because it may be more difficult to communicate with them and to get them set up on the job;
  • Immigrants, who employers may have been happy to hire in the past but less happy in the past to pay for relocation or for help with getting a visa;
  • Someone with a felony on his or her record or other criminal history (when appropriate);
  • Someone with less direct experience, who will require more training; and
  • Students, who may not yet have the experience the organization is usually looking for.

How Else Can You Attract Workers?

Other options to attract more workers include:

  • Improve pay and benefits. Examples of improved benefits include things like:
    • Fully paid health insurance premiums,
    • Childcare discounts or on-site options,
    • Flexible working options, such as working from home, and
    • Extra vacation days.
  • Expand geographic search range by offering to pay for relocation or allowing remote work; advertise nationally instead of locally.
  • Offer hiring bonuses, which can be more affordable than higher pay because they are one-time offers rather than annual expenditures.
  • Assess the organizational culture—is your workplace a friendly environment? Do your employees feel proud to work for the organization? Does the organization live up to its values? What else could be changed about the culture to attract and retain employees?
  • Replace “bad” managers. Bad managers are an oft-cited reason for turnover—and in this climate, turnover reduction is critical. Some organizations are taking proactive steps to ensure there are no bad managers influencing turnover. For example, you can assess what departments are experiencing the highest turnover and then determine what can be changed to eliminate that.
  • Change job requirements to allow more people to qualify. For example, some jobs could be split into more than one role, allowing someone who is less qualified to take on some portions of the role and others to take on the rest of the role. This may expand the people who are qualified to apply or at least get a portion of the position filled.
    • Another option here would be to remove physical barriers in some roles—which would allow individuals with physical limitations to be qualified. This could be accomplished through automation, machine assistance, or by splitting the role.
  • Train managers to minimize bias and eliminate discrimination, which can make hiring teams more amenable to hiring individuals they may have previously dismissed.

These are just a few of the ways employers are changing tactics in order to address the hiring shortages they’re seeing. What else has your organization done to fill vacant positions when unemployment is low?