Employment trends: Workers take driver’s seat in 2013

Guest Column:
Edwin McDaid
With employment growing at a gradual yet steady pace, an increasing number of employers are expected to thaw their hiring freeze and take on new workers in 2013. But companies that placed hiring on the back burner for the past few years may have a surprise in store. More

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OP-ED/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Employment trends: Workers take driver’s seat in 2013

Guest Column:
Edwin McDaid
Posted 3/25/13

With employment growing at a gradual yet steady pace, an increasing number of employers are expected to thaw their hiring freeze and take on new workers in 2013. But companies that placed hiring on the back burner for the past few years may have a surprise in store.

There is no question that the past several years have been a challenge for everyone. Workers finding themselves suddenly laid off scrambled to find employment – with many taking jobs for which they were overqualified. Companies went into “lean and mean” mode, attempting to do more with fewer employees. Meanwhile, a significant number of staffing agencies largely depended on temporary placements to get them through the Great Recession.

But with 2012 came the start of an economic rebound, translating into a return to a time when prospective employees could choose from among job offers. That trend is more than likely to continue throughout 2013 and beyond; as such companies must meet the challenge of keeping pace with the compensation and benefits required to attract cream-of-the-crop employees, while at the same time recoup revenue lost during those recessionary years.

Currently, the demand for skilled workers is geo-centric and that demand is likely to continue. From manufacturing companies to financial institutions and distribution firms, the need for trained personnel is growing at a rate faster than supply is being met. Employers will have to strategize to recruit and retain the right candidates.

Hiring tactics may include increasing compensation for qualified candidates, poaching talent from other companies and retraining current employees.

In order to attract and keep key employees, employers will have to rise to the occasion and provide higher compensation for current and new employees.

Some employers are poised to become more aggressive and scout out workers already employed with other companies. Social networking such as LinkedIn makes it easier to keep tabs on and court prospective hires.

The shrinking talent pool is compelling some employers to take the initiative to retrain current employees, providing them with the skills necessary to take on added responsibilities.

The desire for temporary and contract hiring remains considerable, particularly among employers who are not yet ready to make a commitment to long-term hires. That said, another trend those of us in the staffing industry are seeing is an increase in the conversion rate from temporary to permanent placements – a further sign not only of a more stabilized economy but also of workers moving up from the back to the driver’s seat. •


Edwin McDaid is president and founder of South Shore Staffing in Canton, Mass.

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