It’s a Candidate Market Again

From a global economic standpoint, it’s time to exhale as the world emerges from recession and key indicators move into positive territory. In the labor arena, this has meant a change from an employer market to a candidate market in the case of top talent. The pool of top-performing superstars has grown shallow in recent years and this trend is expected to continue through the next decade.

  • Candidates have choices. As the economy continues to stabilize, employers want top talent to help them move their companies forward. Multiple offers provide candidates with more bargaining power.
  • Early-career pros are in demand. During the recession, many employers held back on filling entry-level positions. As a result, unemployment for young professionals in the 20 to 24-year age range far exceeded that of the older population. This trend, too, is reversing.

The Market Belongs to Top Candidates

While there is an unemployment rate among high-performing candidates, it’s miniscule. Top talent trumps everything else in terms of solving problems, inspiring innovation and driving profitability.

  • The number of superstar candidates has not grown. Overall, the number of unemployed job seekers has increased, but the number of top performers has not.
  • Companies are “locking down” their best talent. Employers are taking pre-emptive measures such as offering enhanced compensation packages to ensure that their leading employees stay right where they are.
  • Counteroffers are common. Companies are making counteroffers to their best employees for the simple reason that they can’t afford to lose them.

How You Can Compete

Hiring is a process of buying and selling on the part of both employer and candidate. Today’s top performers are being pursued by multiple employers and are quickly learning that they have more than one option in terms of their next career step.

  • In a recent survey of 170 recruiters, 79 percent defined the talent market for the professional sector as candidate driven. This represented a 12 point year-over-year increase.
  • Forty-nine percent of candidates turned down positions because they accepted another offer. This number increased by 16 percent from the first half of 2013 to the second.
  • Job openings are primarily the result of newly-created positions as employers expand their businesses post-recession. The number-two reason for openings is resignations, demonstrating that qualified candidates are being actively recruited.
  • The necessity to “do more with less” appears to be ebbing. Only 16 percent of employers surveyed said their head counts had not rebounded to pre-recession levels.

Today’s candidates turn down job offers because:

  • They accept another offer.
  • The salary and/or benefits are less than they expected.
  • They accept a counteroffer from their current employer.
  • They change their minds about making a move.

These factors are driving companies to simplify their hiring processes and extend competitive offers in a quick and timely fashion. In order to maintain your competitive edge, be sure there is no disconnect in your processes.

  • Efficiency is a game changer. A prolonged hiring time frame gives candidates more options and time to rethink their reasons for making a move. The percentage of employers who made an offer within two weeks of a first interview increased from 19 to 25 in the past year, as companies came to realize this necessity.
  • Perfect your employment branding strategy. Revisit it from the top down. Define and consistently promote the reasons your company is a great place to work.
  • Get to know your candidates as individuals. Learn their goals, values, wants and needs – and tailor an aggressive, market-leading competitive package just for them.

The expert recruiting team at Contemporary Personnel can help you thrive in today’s candidate-driven career market. If you are looking for recruitment in Syracuse, NY, contact our team today.


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