5 Ways Your Company Can Compete in a Candidate-Driven Market

toft office 428

The “official” unemployment rate for May reached the lowest it’s been in 16 years. The Healthcare industry has been one of the strongest contributors to the growing job market, adding an average of 24,000 jobs per month, many of them high-paying.

As unemployment rates continue to remain low, there will continue to be more jobs than skilled workers, giving talented job-seekers the upper hand. In a candidate-driven market, applicants can be selective. Even those who are employed may be actively searching or lured away by enticing opportunities elsewhere.

Three major trends are contributing to the candidate-driven market:

Trend 1: Employee Optimism About the Job Market is on the Rise

Earlier this year, the number of people who believe now is a good time to find a quality job surged to the highest level it has been in over 15 years. According to Gallup research, half the population believes now is a good time to find a job.

Source: www.Gallup.com

The numbers are even higher among employees with higher education, income levels, and those currently employed:

    • 62% of those with a postgraduate education say now is a good time to find a quality job.
    • 57% of those who have an income of $75,000+ or more say it is a good time.
    • 56% of those who are employed say it is a good time.

Employee perceptions are spot on. Companies are indeed hiring, with over half (52%) of CEOs indicating they plan to increase headcount in the next 12 months.

While the job market as a whole is experiencing a sense of growth and stability, for employers, finding the right talent may hinder growth. 

Trend 2: The Increasing Talent Shortage

Non-HR executives used to think that ‘talent shortage’ was simply a buzz phrase. However, the push for productivity and rapid innovation to remain competitive, has made the lack of talent a very real issue.

Finding the right mix of experience, specialized skills, soft skills, and leadership within the life sciences and healthcare sectors is not easy to do given today’s talent shortage. One key reason is the increasing number of senior managers and executive leadership teams that are quickly approaching retirement. The high retirement rates of these executive “baby boomers” have companies scrambling to fill key roles with less experienced candidates, many of whom are less qualified but seeking career development.

In addition, as Biotech continues to merge with Healthcare High Tech, more talent is being recruited by companies previously thought of as ‘outside the industry’. Healthcare High-Tech is a hot, rapidly growing field that is attracting billions of dollars in investment.  As a result, exceptionally skilled talent is in-demand in order to deliver on these highly-complex products.

Trend 3: Millennials Are More Willing to Change Jobs

It’s no secret millennials have developed a reputation for frequent job-hopping. They are often less willing to “settle” or stay with employers for the long haul and tend to be more prone to continually searching for new opportunities and faster career progression.

With greater confidence in the job market, millennials will likely become even more restless staying at a company if they feel they can find something better.

As the pendulum shifts from employer to employee, how can companies remain attractive to new candidates, while keeping their current employees happy?

1. Time Kills Deals – Move Quickly: Many employers lose good candidates because of a slow-moving hiring processes. Skilled workers know they are in high-demand and are increasingly sensitive to each step of the hiring process. In fact, a survey showed that 24% of candidates declined an offer because an employer took too long. Employers should develop and agree upon a clear job description and expectations internally, have a defined interview process and move quickly to make an offer when the right candidate for the position is identified.

2. Offer Meaningful Work: In the 2017 Life Sciences Ideal Employers Report by Biospace, Interesting & Meaningful Work was the #1 attribute that made for an ideal employer across generations. This above a competitive salary.

The third most important attribute of an ideal employer was a good reputation: showing that employees care deeply about having purpose and meaning in what they do, and will seek employers who value a greater good over profit.

Additional statistics support corporate social responsibility and being a part of something meaningful as highly-attractive qualities among key groups such as millennials and women. The Life Sciences industry has the mission of improving health, which can be a major competitive advantage for attracting talent relative to other industries.

3. Get Out of the Dark Ages: The structure of a 40-hour work week and 9-to-5 workdays is evolving.

As much as employees value their work, there is a growing need to balance priorities for their life outside of work. For employees and candidates managing childcare, aging parents, family illness, etc., it is critical they feel supported by their company in providing manageable work hours and flexibility to work from home occasionally if necessary.

Today’s employers who want to attract the best candidates should put in place performance-based milestones for their employees, and focus more on their accomplishments than time spent in-office.

4. Be Progressive & Provide Career Progression: High-performing employees who feel stifled or stagnant, without a clear path to advance their careers will no doubt have an eye on new opportunities. The vast majority of millennials have cited development as very important to them in a job.  Women often resign in frustration mid-career because they are not provided career development opportunities, sometimes leaving the workforce completely.

It is our observation that lack of career development opportunities is the top reason for seeking a next executive role. All employees want career development, and “sticky” employers spend time putting it in place.

5. Show Them the Money & Healthcare: A competitive salary was ranked #2 as most important among Life Sciences professionals in the Biospace Survey, and having good health benefits came in at #4. Employers in a candidate-driven market must be competitive when it comes to offering a solid compensation package. Employees want to be fairly compensated for their work, but as we’ve seen, money is not the only thing that matters. As such, employers should be well educated about what the industry/competitors are offering and be prepared to include additional incentives to create a competitive package.

As the Life Sciences industry continues to remain strong in the job market, job seekers will have leverage over employers and will be selective. Companies who offer important incentives to employees and move quickly though the hiring process, will have an advantage.