No matter how much information you have, it seems like it’s never enough. Case in point: remember 2021 and the first half of 2022? Certain industries, such as Big Tech and online retailers, went on hiring sprees. Folks in the job board industry were certainly happy enough – after the dip in hiring due to 2020’s COVID emergence, we were ready for some good news. Hiring for warehouse, health care, and tech went through the roof.
The reasons for the hiring explosion were out there, if not always obvious. With much of the population locked down (even after the initial reaction to COVID), people turned to their computers as an alternative to buying things in person. Warehouses and suppliers raced to keep up. In other words, demand for delivered goods went up. At the same time, workers needed to fill those purchases were scarce – after all, many were locked down or unwilling to go to a potentially hazardous workplace. And what of the health workers on the front line? They were overworked, burning out, and also becoming sick. Against this backdrop, tech giants like Facebook and Amazon were snapping up workers as quickly as they could, reacting to what they hoped was a permanent increase in demand.
Even as this was happening, the information for what might come next was out there. If there was a shortage of workers, their labor became more valuable, right? Employers had to pay more. They even had to compete for workers (and it quickly became apparent that many employers had forgotten how to compete for workers!). At the same time, the danger COVID posed to workers made some jobs undesirable at any wage – witness the ongoing exit of health care workers from their industry. And – having been forced to work from home – other workers came to several realizations: a) their job didn’t necessarily require going into an office; and b) they didn’t necessarily like going into an office. When thousands of workers have the same experiences and realizations – well, you have some changes in the workforce. Employers can either ignore the changes (i.e., retrench and hope for a return to the ‘good old days’) or they can ’embrace the change’.
In the midst of this sit the job boards and recruitment marketing platforms. They are trying to meet both the present need for workers that may be moving from one industry to another – and the future need for workers that will continue to fuel existing growth. So what does the available information tell us that job boards should do?
- If you’re in a market that favors remote work: Job boards focused on tech, online retail, banking, and other verticals that are leaning into remote work should be modifying their candidate acquisition plans to reach candidates that are transitioning into remote work from other industries.
- If you’re in a market hit hard by a shrinking workforce: Job boards focused on health care, manufacturing, and other verticals that are losing workers should double down on partnerships with schools and training programs that are bringing new candidates into the market.
- If you’re in a market that seems stable: Job boards focused on so-called stable verticals, such as sales, marketing, legal, and so on, should not assume that things will remain stable. Take a second look at both the long term growth in employers, and the number of candidates entering your vertical. Stability can be deceiving!
Remember – big changes often happen slowly at first, and then all at once. To be prepared for sudden change, pay attention to slow and incremental change! And remember – the information (and truth) is out there.
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