A transformation is underway in the Canadian labour market as economic recovery and demographic changes put qualified employees in the driver's seat and require employers to compete harder for the best talent.
"The tables are turning from the unemployment spike of the recession to a long-term talent shortage that will dominate business priorities for the years ahead," says Gabriel Bouchard, president and chief brand officer of Workopolis. "The day is done when a company could post a job and take their pick from the responses. Now it must sustain an ongoing campaign to court and entice the best talent over a period of time."
According to Workopolis, 2010 marks the start of "The Talent Hunt Decade," a new era in which organizations will have to market themselves to qualified candidates just as vigorously as they market their products and services.
Qualified candidates are in the driver's seat
Potential candidates for key positions have become increasingly selective and sophisticated when it comes to finding their next employer. New research conducted for Workopolis by Harris/ Decima found that the top three attributes workers are now seeking in a job opportunity are:
- Good work/ life balance (78 per cent);
- High compensation/ benefits (71 per cent); and
- A strong relationship with boss/ co-workers (71 per cent).
"Skilled candidates are increasingly discerning about what they want in a job and their criteria now includes aspects like corporate culture and self-development opportunities as much as concrete features such as compensation and title," says Bouchard. "Candidates are back in the driver's seat and are looking for opportunities where they can shine – they want to excel and feel fulfilled in their jobs. That means employers have a much more complex message to communicate about their employment opportunities to encourage candidates to send their resumes."
Top 5 Rules of the Talent Hunt Decade for Employers
1. HR needs to embrace marketing: Changing demographics and impending labour shortages mean that competition for top talent is only going to get fiercer. Increasingly candidates are in the power position and employers have to find ways to truly differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Marketing best practices have come to the world of human resources so that employers can extend their reach, engage candidates and match their needs with what they have to offer
2. There is a difference between a commercial brand and an employer brand: employers need to ensure that potential candidates know the difference – Candidate's initial impressions of a company are established as potential consumers or users of your products or services. But an employer brand incorporates additional elements that show a potential candidate what it could be like to work at a company.
3. Hire a person, not a resume: Resumes are only one tool in modern recruiting. It is critical for employers to get to the real person behind the resume and understand how they will fit into culture and roles. New assessment and profile tools are evolving, but the best strategy is one that involves less time with unqualified candidates and more time interviewing potentially qualified candidates. Ensuring an employer brand is speaking to the right audience is more than half the battle.
4. It's a more complicated world to recruit in: HR specialists have many more options and finding the right course to take is becoming increasingly difficult and costly in terms of time. The best solution is one which connects employers with the largest pool of qualified candidates in Canada in one easy step.
5. In a competitive world for qualified candidates, getting it wrong can be costly: Hiring the wrong person will cost you 2.5 times that person's salary (Source: Society of HR Management 2007. Smart hiring is directly connected to the bottom-line. Most organizations' most valuable assets are its human capital that walks out the door every night. And the wrong hire has tangible business impacts because of the disruption, false starts, and additional work created. If you have to get it right, do it right from the start.
HR needs to embrace marketing
To add to the recruiter's challenge, employers have come to recognize that the most valuable candidates are often the ones not currently looking for a job. In a survey of Canadian human resources professionals by Workopolis and the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), 97 per cent of respondents said they want tools to help them reach employed candidates. Three-quarters (75 per cent) said it was particularly critical to get in touch with individuals who aren't actively looking for a new job. That's because when it comes to hard-to-fill roles, the best candidates are almost always employed.
To attract these candidates, employers need an approach that's closer to marketing than traditional recruiting.
"Employers have to sustain a compelling employer brand in the marketplace at all times," says Bouchard. "An employer brand can create the idea, even for employed workers casually browsing the website that you are an employer of choice, an organization they would aspire to join and want to stay in touch with."
The HRPA survey was conducted in February 2010 by the Human Resources Professionals Association in partnership with Workopolis through an online poll of 1,022 HRPA members. The Harris/Decima study was conducted via teleVox, the company's national telephone omnibus survey, with a representative sample of 1,095 working Canadians between April 22 and May 2, 2010. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percent, 19 times out of 20.