As a soon-to-be college graduate, I encounter a broad and phenomenal anxiety in my peers whenever the conversations turns to what exactly is going to happen when we all eventually enter the real world. There is a sense of hopelessness among some, anger with others or a tired resignation that is both visible in demeanor and pronounced in speech. So what’s going on? What has young people crippled with this fear of failing to launch? Robert Goldfarb (author of today’s New York Times article) says that the pessimism is a result of a hiring gap that exists in the American job market. He interviewed both CEOs and students to ascertain what newly educated job seekers and captains of industry could agree on. Unfortunately not much as it turns out. Read on to see which skills the bosses are looking for in today’s economy and why a broad education is looked at differently now than 10 years ago.
Bridging the Hiring Gap
Recent graduates claim they are equipped to handle the demands of modern businesses, but are they? Companies are regularly looking for candidates that have “hard skills” like development, engineering, etc, but what about all of those English and Liberal Arts majors? Are they to be forgotten? Studies say no. While they may require more training than employees with “hard skills”, these other graduates are known to bring a freshness and new look at outdated processes. Employees even claim that more broadly skilled employees are able to grasp new concepts quickly.
In fact, for several marketing positions in social media and content, we’re seeing an influx of journalism and english majors. Their skills in creative and technical writing are proving to easily cross-over and create a new age in marketing.
Cost-Effective Hiring Practices
Startup businesses are taking a new approach to hiring. They’re taking broadly skilled recent graduates, and putting them immediately into “business development” roles. Business Development being the new catch-all department that manages sales and acts as a stepping stone for employees to cross-over into new roles. The goal is simple. Lower overall company costs with cheap new hires, while taking the most successful and moving them up the corporate ladder. This has helped to minimize barriers for recent graduates looking to land their first jobs.
What’s Happening to Senior Staff?
So businesses are grooming recent graduates to take on more senior roles, what’s happening to managers and senior staff? Senior staff are finding themselves being pushed out of businesses, and average employment times for staff are decreasing steadily. The reason why? Managers are realizing that they need to keep jumping to new companies more frequently to keep themselves fresh. The bigger your salary, the bigger of a target on your back. This is why you see more and more managers with single years of employment at various businesses.
The Impact of High Turnover
With managers and staff leaving regularly for greener pastures, what’s the impact of the increase in high turnover? Businesses are finding that at the mid manager to senior level, onboarding costs are steadily increasing. Which makes sense right? As more employees leave, it costs more to onboard, post jobs, go through the hiring process, etc.
Employee Engagement the Answer to the Hiring Gap
The hiring gap is real. How do we solve it? The first part of that answer is for businesses to start building better training programs. The second part is to create programs to continue to engage their employees, to decrease the chances of losing top talent to other opportunities. Employees no longer feel the need to be attached to businesses because they understand that a business is looking out for their own interests, and not the employees. At the same time, businesses don’t want to hire recent graduates and entry-level employees because they’re concerned they don’t have the skills to manage the complex day-to-day tasks. Is the answer really to wait for another business to take a top prospect and cultivate those skills before you can? Most businesses argue yes. However, to truly grow your business you need to begin to foster and nurture talent. Building talent in this manner will help you create a pipeline of candidates to fast track your business to success.