Ask the Flexpert…Why Are Employers Struggling to Find Workers

Employment experts confirm employers are having a difficult time recruiting qualified employees to fill vacant positions.

It’s a very tight market.  There are more job openings available than trained and experienced individuals to fill them.

Employers are also trying to find applicants from a smaller pool of potential candidates. The unemployment rate was 3.5% in September 2019, according to the most recent figures. The workforce has been the number-one issue facing businesses in the last few years.

Since more people have jobs, less people are looking for work.  Candidates today have many options in multiple industries.

Firms struggle to find qualified workers with the skills necessary for the available jobs, and the most difficult jobs to fill seem to be technical skills positions, transportation jobs, and middle management.

The construction industry especially has complained about a shortage of experienced workers. In a survey by the Association of General Contractors, 78 percent of respondents said they were having a hard time finding qualified workers.

Symptoms of the problem
  1. Job applicants don’t show up for scheduled interviews
  2. Online openings will receive a lot of applications, but those applicants aren’t dedicated to the hiring process
  3. Applicants often won’t respond when employers reach out to them
  4. Struggle to find workers willing to do entry-level or hard work.
Problems for Employers
  • Hiring difficulties have increased causing firms to forgo new business opportunities
  • When short-handed, employees work longer shifts, making them more tired, so their attitudes might not be as appealing.
  • Some organizations haven’t started new projects for lack or talent
  • Projects have been delayed due to lack of people to complete the project
  • Retention is harder for businesses because employees have more employment options.

This is not ‘your father’s recruiting environment.’  It isn’t effective to use just one recruitment strategy anymore. Recruiters really have to be going at it in a number of ways and have had to adapt to this changing job market.

Employers Using Different Approaches to Make Their Jobs More Appealing

They have:

  • Adopted more flexible employee scheduling to be more appealing
  • Have tried to recruit to ‘nontraditional workers,’ including semiretired workers, retirees, etc. to fill entry-level jobs
  • More and more redoubled efforts to attract young people to apprenticeships
  • Some have raised pay, added vacation days and offered hiring and longevity bonuses
  • Broadened ties with local vocational institutions, expanding skilled apprenticeship programs
  • Gone regional or national with recruiting efforts that formerly stayed close to home
  • Aging or discouraged workers are being drawn back into the workforce
  • More employers start hiring people with a non-violent criminal history so the candidate field opens up

Candidates don’t necessarily need experience because the company will now provide training.

It’s becoming more common for businesses to reach out to recruiting agencies for assistance finding people to fill entry-level and upper-level positions. At Flexicrew, our clients are counting on us to do the leg work to find the skills they can’t find or don’t have time to search for.

There had been such a big push for a college education in past years that schools placed less emphasis on skilled trades. Now, Public Schools and other area districts are building their career technical education and employers are accommodating more on-the-job training


If things seem bleak now, a Washington Post article states that tight labor markets are likely to persist. Over the next decade, as the baby boomers retire, the labor force will expand by 0.5 percent annually, roughly one-third as fast as it did between 1950 and 2016, predicted the Congressional Budget Office.

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