By the end of March 2022, job openings across all sectors of the economy totaled more than 11.5 million — a record high not seen in the US economy for decades. With many companies facing labor shortages as they escape from the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, it's a job seeker’s market. Many businesses have begun raising wages and using more aggressive campaigns to hire additional staff.
There's no telling for how long these unique conditions will last, but one thing is sure: businesses of all kinds need to increase staff and quickly. The result is an environment where employers and potential job applicants need to consider their next steps carefully.
What New Labor Conditions Mean for Employers
Businesses may know they need more staff but can remain hesitant to broaden their applicant pool due to fears of "lowering standards." The key is to continue enforcing standards while becoming more flexible and understanding. For example, many businesses frown upon applicants with notable gaps in their employment history—but after more than two years of a pandemic in which millions lost work, such gaps should not be an immediate sign of unreliability.
To staff up adequately, it's key to spend time evaluating real concerns, not perceived future problems with a potential employee. A faster hiring process is also key to ensuring a business doesn't face long-term labor shortages. Using a rapid online tool for an employment background check can provide the information necessary for essential considerations without delays.
How Applicants Should Approach the Job Market Today
For job-seekers, there are many opportunities to make a career transition. However, applicants shouldn't expect employers to dip too far below their stated expectations for a position. With major openings in industries such as retail and manufacturing, while wages are also on the rise, it is a good opportunity to find an employer that provides a better value in exchange for your time. The "great resignation" hasn't ended—but be aware of the processes you may face, including background checks, if you decide to quit and transition.
How Long Will These New Conditions Last?
The economic outlook for the near term remains very uncertain, with inflation and a market contraction signaling potential headwinds on the horizon. Even as unemployment continues to drop dramatically, fears of a recession could ultimately work to slow the pace of hiring. On the other hand, corrective actions taken by the government could blunt those effects. For now, employers and applicants alike should focus on the opportunities presently ahead of them.
From employers using the proper pre-employment background checks to applicants knowing their value, there are steps everyone can take to make the most of the current economic conditions. Though the length of the trend is impossible to predict, there's no denying that it is a pivotal moment for the economy. Are you ready to embrace it?
About Michael Klazema The author
Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments