Phil Hauck, Envision Board President

“There is a zero percent likelihood you will have enough people to fill all your jobs for the next ten years!” That’s the headline takeaway from Chris Czarnik, an Appleton-based national speaker on “Talent Recruitment and Management” and author of Winning The War for Talent.

Employers have realized for two years that there aren’t enough people to staff their enterprises.  But we’re wondering when it will end. Czarnik says employers must realize that this fundamental shift we’re seeing today will be permanent for the foreseeable future. He points to data that says it will be many years from now, requiring a 180-degree shift in how you approach recruiting.

The Data
The Labor Force Participation Rate, nationally, was one time at 68% but has fallen to 63%.  Where did they go?  When will they come back?  The answer will be found in the data. Boomers, 75 million of them, mostly retired, are now age 57-74.  They can retire because they saved, but, unfortunately, they’ve also shared their wealth with their children – to the tune of $30 trillion. So, some of these Gen-Xers don’t need to work or can work less.

Gen-Xers are now 39-56, in their prime, but they number only 66 million – and they’re changing companies every 3-4 years.  They don’t want to keep moving, says Czarnik, but, “When employees stop learning, they start leaving.” Millennials are now 21-38, numbering 77 million, and now available to contribute. Gen-Zers, behind them and soon to begin entering the workforce, number 67 million, again a drop.

Effectively, Czarnik says, we’re eight million workers short for the next ten years. That means that, “in competing for people, someone will lose!  For the first time in 40 years, you need people more than they need you.” Until now, you had your pick of applicants.  Now, you will need to attract applicants from other companies.  They’re dissatisfied there, and you need to enthrall them with the virtues of working for you.

Developing the Job Ad
It will not be about the skills needed.  Many people will have the skills, and many other companies are making their needs visible too. So, how to stand out and be more effective: Focus on what the job seeker is looking for to counteract the dissatisfaction with the previous job. How to know? Talk to your best employees and recent hires. Ask them: What job did you leave to come here? What changed in your life that caused you to look?  External reasons are usually marriage, divorce, first child, change of residence location, change of family schedule, etc. Internal reasons are dissatisfaction with the employer’s supervisor, values/culture, supervisor’s personality, poor match of skillset with job, low pay, wish to achieve higher educational level, etc. Then ask them “What search tool led you to us?” If it was the Internet, “what search words did you use?” And, finally, “Why us, over everyone else?”

As you construct the job ad, consider three key parts:

  • Top:  Lead with the key word of need that resulted from the above conversations.  You are actually selling what the first conversation with the prospect should be about.
  • Middle:  List what you have that fulfills that need.
  • End:  Describe the emotional words/feelings the candidate will have working for you when those needs are fulfilled.

Be careful about the job title you assign.  If it’s “Production Manager Wanted,” you’ll compete with 18,000 other entries for that title – be creative. And note that you won’t take employee development or the challenge of hiring seriously until you make a line item on your P&L for the cost of recruiting to replace a lost employee. Those costs include:

  • Margin on lost sales  
  • Upset customers not served by good employees  
  • Overtime now necessary  
  • And …?

So, now, let’s return to those opening questions: Where did they go and will they come back? Czarnik explains:

  • Some retired early due to great 401(k) plan appreciation over the years.
  • After being furloughed from jobs they didn’t like (after PPP ran out), some “retired,” perhaps living on the income of the spouse.
  • Many will come back as inflation drives up costs and lures them back into income-producing employment.
  • Think “teachers who have quit due to stress.”  They could be excellent employees.

For more insights, order Chris Czarnik’s book, Winning The War For Talent.