Despite a national unemployment rate hovering around 9 percent, many employers are still struggling to fill positions, according to a poll released last week by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
While hiring challenges are greatest in the manufacturing and high-tech industries, employers in many fields are having trouble attracting candidates for occupations requiring a high level of education, training, and ability. These include engineering, nursing and other medical occupations, and computer programming. There were fewer challenges in all levels of government and in industries such as construction, mining, and oil and gas.
Successful employers are changing the way they recruit. For example, Mechanical Devices, which produces parts for companies such as Caterpillar, was unable to generate a sufficient number of qualified applicants through traditional means, such as job fairs.In response, they created their own 10-week training program where applicants with the ability—but not the skills—for a particular job could develop the skills required. The program has allowed Mechanical Devices to fill jobs that had been vacant for months.
The possibilities are limited only by employer creativity. For example, developing job preparation programs with local universities and community colleges could help connect career-minded graduates with employers who are hiring.
To fill positions that remain vacant even in this economic environment, a recruiting plan must anticipate a need as far in advance as possible. Successfully locating qualified applicants is only part of the equation. You must also be able to provide a total compensation package that will attract and retain them.