Contrary to popular belief, this is a lousy market for employers trying to hire professional services employees. There is very little good or great talent out there. Here are the reasons:
- While the unemployment rate is indeed about 14-16%, it’s less than 7% for people with college degrees. When you eliminate the (substantial) number of people included in the 7% figure who are working part-time, you’re looking at a lower number again.
- Great employees in the professional services industries have been retained by their firms during the pandemic. The vast majority of people looking for work are the weak employees that their firms didn’t want to retain in the first place.
- Further, those great employees are extremely reluctant to switch jobs right now. They now have security where they are, regardless of our happy they are in their jobs. It will take a lot to make them switch in this time of uncertainty.
So to find someone right now means we’re either going to have to completely overpay or give them such a compelling reason they won’t have a choice but to switch jobs.
Or, we’re going to have to settle for someone who’s out of work, and likely because they weren’t that valuable to their employer in the first place.
I’ve talked to a number of recruiters who work in and out of the professional services space who are seeing the same thing.
We’re currently helping clients hire white-collar professionals: three openings at two public accounting firms, one at a law firm, a COO for an insurance broker, a senior property accountant at a property management company, and some other related hires. We’re working with recruiters on most of those hires. There’s no one good out there.
So if you think there’s currently a bunch of fantastic employees out there just dying for a job and can’t wait to work for you, think again.
[Note: this does not apply to our clients in manufacturing, hospitality, warehouse, and related industries – indeed – there are a LOT of great employees looking for work there]
Does this change if unemployment starts to go away or be significantly reduced, or if there is no second stimulus check? Unlikely. It will just increase the number of candidates applying who have been out of work.
If, however, there is a second downturn in the economy, and businesses have to shed good employees to stay viable, that might be the uptick in qualified candidates we need. Professional services firms will then need to decide whether to eliminate positions or rollback salaries.