In the labor market currently there is a talent shortage. There are lots of open jobs, but they aren’t being filled. According to Bloomberg.com, on April 1, “the National Federation of Independent Business reported that in March a record-high percentage of small businesses surveyed said they had jobs they couldn’t fill: 42%, vs. an average since 1974 of 22%. Also 91% of respondents said they had few or no qualified applicants for job openings in the past three months.” But unemployment still stands at 6%… so it’s not due to there not being enough candidates out there.
Jobs not being filled could be due to attractive unemployment benefits vs. lower-wage jobs, or workers still having to care for children or elderly parents due to the pandemic, or other pandemic-related issues. But part of the fault may also lie in unrealistic expectations by employers. Because unemployment is so high, many job requirements on open positions are quite lofty – employers think they can get a “deal” on top talent. But on the flip side of the coin, the pandemic has made candidates much more picky about where they are choosing to work.
During the pandemic, many who were already employed lost their jobs, which gave them time to further their education or pursue hobbies. So look beyond employment gaps and see what skills the candidate cultivated during that time. Even things like creating a blog during the pandemic or taking up challenging hobby have merit when those skills and that drive are transferable to your role. Learning to play guitar or creating a vegetable garden show that a candidate is disciplined enough to teach themselves and that they don’t give up.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many new grads don’t have the experience that previous graduating classes did in terms of internships, volunteering, or job-shadowing. But despite a “lighter” resume in terms of work, these candidates have skills that others don’t – they are flexible and agile to adapt. They likely already know how to work remotely due to having to finish schooling online. Some of these grads have even completed virtual internships or pursued online certifications.
So despite unemployment gaps or lacks of internships, these candidates may be perfect for your job – even if they don’t have the perfect set of skills, the pandemic has made them teachable and trainable. In the tech world, the demand for skilled talent is outpacing the number of those earning technology/computer science degrees, so companies are utilizing “boot camps” to train workers and quickly fill open tech positions. Think outside the box to fill those vacant roles.