Nineteen percent of 11,500 U.S. employers have reported that they plan to add employees in Q1 2018, the strongest first-quarter hiring outlook in 10 years, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released in Dec. 2017.

Positions not requiring a four-year degree reported the highest hiring number in over a decade, and include such industries as U.S. transportation and utilities, construction, durable goods, and manufacturing. Other areas forecasting strong hiring in Q1 include hospitality, business and professional services, and wholesale and retail trades.

For employees, that means a lot of job options, which could create a bit of a bidding war for talent. Don’t be surprised if wages increase and more employees head down the path of freelance work, trading freedom and schedule flexibility, for office hours. Employers may also have a longer hiring cycle due to talent shortages and increased competition for the talent that is on the market.

Employers have to react to that scarcity with increased wages.

Several factors are converging simultaneously on the hiring landscape that is contributing to the strong need for employers that are hiring. Two data points are indisputable; the United States is at the lowest labor participation rate in 44 years, and there are fewer employees to choose from, creating a scarcity situation.

That scarcity comes partially from a lack of trained workers. More alarmingly, in a country deemed to be at full employment, the unemployment rate in the next generation of workforce millennials — is at a staggering 12.8 percent as of Feb. 2017, as published by the Generation Opportunity millennial job report.

Employers have to react to that scarcity with increased wages. American cities with significantly low unemployment like Minneapolis, Austin, Denver, and San Jose are reporting wage increase at twice the national average, 4% versus 2.3%, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The second data point involves the Silver Tsunami, which refers to the rise in the median age of the United States workforce to levels unseen since the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935. It is projected that by the year 2020, about 25 percent of the U.S. workforce will be composed of older workers (ages 55 and over). By 2029, one-fifth of the U.S. population will be 65 or older, and many of those 76 million or so post-war baby boomers — perhaps up to 50 million of them — will be exiting the workforce over the same period. Workers at the front of the wave are retiring now, leaving employers with openings they are struggling to fill.

Employers are going to have to evolve with the new hiring landscape that is filled with the pitfalls of more competition for qualified employees, an overall lack of employees to choose from, and miscellaneous other barriers to filling job openings.

One traditional route employers have enjoyed for the last few decades are the use of online job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder, where they could post job openings online, and candidates could submit resumes.

At its inception, most job boards where considered to be, for the most part, equal regarding their ability to deliver qualified applicants to the employer. Those days are gone.

Job ads posted by employers are no longer equal in stature, thanks to platforms like Indeed and ZipRecruiter These two companies have created a “google ad-word” methodology, where employers must bid-up a job ad, paying a “pay per click” amount per view, for the job to be seen by potential candidates. If the employer does not bid enough money per click, their job is almost impossible to find by the job seeker. To make matters even more difficult for employers, Indeed will not list the telephone contact number on resumes within their database. Employers combing that database, for a fee, are only allowed to email candidates. It is up to the candidate if they will or will not engage with an employer.

Considering the lack of talent on the market, employers are going to have to stop hunting for the Purple Squirrel. Purple Squirrel is a term used by recruiters to describe a job candidate with precisely the right education, set of experience, and range of qualifications that perfectly fits a job’s requirements.

The implication is that over-specification of the requirements makes a perfect candidate as hard to find as a purple squirrel, it is commonly asserted that the effort seeking them is often wasted. The result of seeking a “Purple Squirrel” is usually a slow hiring process or worse yet, a fruitless hiring search. Employers who relax stringent hiring criteria, the number years of experience, educational background, and other specifications will yield much better hiring results, from an already small hiring pool.

The need to hire new employees will not disappear anytime soon, barring a massive recession. For the foreseeable future, employers will need to have an overall mind shift regarding millennials, training, recruiter fees, and employee retention because a good employee is and will continue to be in high demand.

 

This article initially appeared DBusiness 2018 Annual 2018

As of June this year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. has a record 6.2 million job openings. It’s the highest number since the Labor Department began tracking job postings in 2000.

In contrast, there are 7 million jobless Americans. That’s more than one unemployed person for every available job. To the novice pundits, this is the employment equivalent of The Employment Perfect Storm. Simply connect the jobless with the jobs, and like magic, the problem is solved and the U.S. jobless issue is solved.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. There are two major disconnects within the job market: The unemployed people do not have the skills needed by employers, for example, they are unqualified, and workers complain that the wages are too low.

Essentially, there are barely any qualified workers for their job openings. In many cases, there isn’t a single qualified worker for many positions.

The disconnect between employers and the unemployed go beyond the lack of the needed skill sets. According to the NFIB Small Business Survey, CEOs have adopted the mindset that there are not many good workers left to choose from. Their life skills, not their lack of skill sets, are negatively impacting their ability to be employed. Too many workers these days show up drunk or high on drugs, managers say. Or they refuse to work late or on weekends. Unlike previous generations, workers are not willing to pay their dues, so to speak.

Lack of skillset, combined with a perceived lack of job dedication, leaves employers with few options. Some manufacturers are bringing in robots.

The supply of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 stunted. In this age bracket, 18 percent of workers are not gainfully employed. When one out of five workers in this prime age category are opting out of the workforce, essentially 2.5 million people that would have been working in the 1990s are no longer available to employers, according to the Lindsay Group in Virginia.

On the other side of the equation is the needs of the employees, and they feel that employers are not paying a fair and reasonable wage. Wages are barely growing. Companies have to increase their wages if they want better talent.

Times have changed and employers have been slow to react, embracing outdated thought processes they developed during the Great Recession. In that time frame, there were almost seven unemployed people for every job opening. Businesses could afford to be selective and offer lower salaries.

As the U.S. Department of Labor report indicates, the situation is dramatically different today. The job seeker to job opening ratio is 1-to-1. This type of tight labor market should result in an increase in worker wages by companies that must fill their job openings. That has not happened.

Why is that? The devil is in the data. The U.S. Government projects that five of the 10 jobs that will grow the fastest over the next decade pay less than $25,000 a year. The jobs have titles such as personal care aide, home health aide, and food preparer. These types of jobs do not require extensive post-secondary education. Even entry-level CNC machinist’s positions do not require years of schooling.

The result is a vicious cycle: Companies don’t pay enough to attract workers, and workers do not invest in their skill sets to justify higher wages to employers. The result is that both sides complain that neither side is fair to the other side.

To create change, something must give. Businesses may need to be less picky and, in some cases, employees will need to work off-shifts and overtime. Both sides need to work together to bridge this employment gap.

Employers need to invest in basic, on-site training to get inexperienced workers up to speed. Then, take things a step further to create a culture that attracts people. Build a workforce community, not just a job.

President Trump talks about wanting to create 25 million new jobs. The issue isn’t the job openings—there are plenty. The issue is training people for jobs that are at a livable wage and job seekers taking responsibility for their investment in their potential careers from a hard and soft skills perspective.

Every month, the media comments on the monthly unemployment numbers released by the federal government. The unemployment number dropped almost every month last year, which the media has been proclaiming is a good thing. In December, the unemployment rate dropped another 0.3 percentage points to 6.7 percent, the lowest unemployment rate since October 2008. The unemployment rate dropped because over half a million people dropped out of the labor force, not because the economy is necessarily stronger. The unemployment rate’s dramatic decline is due primarily to people no longer being counted. The ranks of the employed have only increased 1.4 million over the past year while the population that’s no longer part of the workforce has swelled by almost 3 million.

What the media and economists really should be looking at instead of the unemployment rate is the labor participation rate.  Americans not in the labor force exploded higher by 535,000 to a new all-time high at 91.8 million. Considering that most employees in manufacturing jobs are baby boomers, manufacturers should be on high alert.

As of December, the Labor Department reports that 62.8 percent of Americans had a job or were actively seeking work. That’s the lowest level since April 1978—almost 36 years ago. The number of people not in the labor force increased by 525,000 persons.

For those claiming the low labor participation rate is made up of only retired people, the website economicpopulist.org proved that false by analyzing labor participation rates by age. Bottom line: The dramatic increase of those not in the labor force is not due to baby boomers retiring. People are not finding jobs and dropping off of the unemployed radar map.

The research showed that the problem is only going to get worse, with retirements accounting for two-thirds of the decline of participation rate by 2020. In other words, the rate will keep declining, no matter how well the economy does.

The number of Americans working or actively seeking work has actually fallen faster than demographers had predicted, and the participation rate for workers between ages 16 and 54 fell sharply during the recession and still hasn’t recovered. Part of the reason for the latter may be that people are not entering the workforce at the same rate, in part because they are spending more time getting an education. My fear is that, by misreading the trends in labor force participation now, policymakers might feel a false sense of security about the state of American job creation. By ignoring the vanishing workforce for the last 10 years or so, policymakers underestimated the weakness of the American economy. We don’t know why almost 4 million workers vanished before the recession. Why would we assume that the 4 million who left after the recession will eventually return?

Barclays economists, meanwhile, say only 15 percent of the drop in the labor force stems from people who want a job and are of prime working age (25-54). “We view the possibility of a large and sudden return of previously discouraged job seekers to the labor force as remote,” they wrote. While I understand Barclays’ pessimism, I see a huge upside for private manufacturing employers.

Savvy employers can create mentor and training programs, regardless of the business they are in. I feel that there is an enormous opportunity for the private sector to capture the disengaged, discouraged workforce and find ways to infuse them with hope and opportunity at your place of business.

Manufacturers will need to take a strategic initiative approach and invest in marketing/PR programs to intrigue the disengaged job seeker, and then create a career path that shows them the financial and personal rewards of working in manufacturing.

Once people are infused with a brighter future, they will be the best recruiting force on the street for new employees. As the data shows, these people are being ignored by the government, creating an opportunity for private businesses to make a huge difference in the lives of these people, impacting both the business and the local community.

As Many As 31 Million Skilled Trades Positions Will Be Available by 2020

When I was a kid growing up in the 1980s, my parents drilled into my head, “Go to college to get a good job.” The implication being, if I earned a four-year degree, a good-paying job would follow. The interpretation is very different from within the academic world according to college educators I speak to.

The New Perception of College From Within

LOOKING FOR YOUR “DREAM JOB” IN THE NEW YEAR

As the New Year begins, many of us take inventory of our lives and look for ways of improvement. Besides joining a gym or signing up for a language class, one area where some decide a change is necessary is in their careers. In my book, The Job Search Process, I outline eight key points to land your dream job. Rather than cover the tried-and-true categories of resume writing or how to behave yourself in an interview, I focus on one overlooked area job seekers minimize: how to look for a job. So, for those looking for a new career, here is a guide to conducting a job search tailored for you.

“DREAM JOBS” START WITH COMMITMENT

It all starts with commitment. If you are currently employed, pledge a minimum of 10 hours per week to look for a new job. If you don’t have a job, commit to spending 40 hours per week. Nothing derails your job search faster than a lack of personal responsibility for completing your dream job search.

Use your inner-circle for networking

Share with friends and family you are in the job market. Consider making a declaration to yourself and then share it with others. For example, if you are unemployed, it goes like this: “I am going to spend 40 hours every week following my dream job search process until I have a job which will take care of my family and me”. There is tremendous power in using the phrases, “I am” and “I will.” By sharing your declaration with those closest to you, they will now feel included in your process and will be an even stronger support system for you.

A second benefit of telling people you are active in the new job market is they can refer you to companies they know are hiring. Expand beyond your circle of friends and family. Tell everyone you know or meet you are in a job search. Referrals are the number one way to get a job. Only 15% of jobs available are posted, listed, or advertised.

“I am going to spend 40 hours every week following my dream job search process until I have a job which will take care of my family and me”.

Use strategic planning to stand out in a crowded job market

It is shocking the general public believes every job is posted on Monster or Career Builder. The opposite is the truth.

Separate yourself from the jobs with the most significant amount of competition. Instead, look for a dream job strategically. Move away from the masses. There is no quicker, or more direct method to connect a person to their next position, than through someone who knows it exists.

One unique idea I saw from a dream job seeker is to make a “personal” business card and give it to people you meet. The business card acts a mini-resume. Your card should include your name, type of work you are interested in pursuing, and contact information. As a result, this allows your information to be passed along to employers who are looking for someone with your specific skill set.

I am often shocked the general population in the United States believes every job available is posted on Monster or Career Builder.

USE TWITTER, FACEBOOK & ESPECIALLY LINKEDIN.

Use social media and get your message out to as many folks as possible. Popular outlets include LinkedIn, Facebook,  and Twitter.

Linkedin:

Sign up for a Linkedin account immediately, if you do not have one. Because LinkedIn is a favorite tool of recruiter’s and human resources professionals worldwide. Recruiters use Linkedin to locate candidates for the job openings and scan for candidates. Make sure to join Linkedin professional groups who directly relate to industries or jobs in which you want to work. It is important to optimize your profile to include keywords, professional certifications, recommendations, and past achievements.

Facebook:

Facebook is also a top tool recruiters use as well. Edit your Facebook “about” section to reflect major work accomplishments. Certainly, take a moment to clean up posts you have made which might send up a “red flag” to potential employers.

Twitter:

Twitter is a powerful resource to make direct connections with specific people within an organization. Identify key players in a company you would like to work for and follow them on Twitter. Monitor the type of content they are posting. Comment on the posts by adding value to their already existing conversations. Adding value to their conversations ensures you become part of their community. As a result, the key players see you as a good cultural fit for their organization.

dream job search

Beyond making yourself known to recruiters, social media is a quick, and useful method to let people in your extended network know you are in the dream job market.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF JOB BOARDS:

Place your resume on every principal and industry-specific job board. Because employers cannot find you if they do not know you exist. There are several major job boards such as Monster, Hot Jobs, and Career Builder you should have your resume posted. Hiring managers, recruiters, and HR professionals also look at niche job boards that are specific to an individual industry or skill set.

However, update your resume before you start posting. Take time to reorganize and edit your resume to highlight direct, or transferable skills, to the type of employment you want.

THE “REVERSE DREAM JOB SEARCH” METHOD:

One of the most successful methods is to conduct a reverse search for employer’s you have worked at, or places you would like to work. Contact companies you want to work at. Regardless if they have jobs posted. Search the company name and keywords about the business. An Internet search engine will create a list of competitors to the original company. Use this information to send out 100 resumes per week, every week, until you have your dream job.

Manage the flow of information you are sending out and receiving from prospective employers. Send out the resumes on Mondays and call to follow up on Fridays. The follow-up shows a sense of urgency on your part and demonstrates solid follow-through skills.

Finding your dream job takes effort and discipline. However, if you follow your job search process, you should be able to have interviews lined-up within a few weeks.

Do you have a strategy for creating a dream job search? Share it with me on Twitter.

This article originally appeared in Dbusiness.