BLS Analysis for Recruiters – January 2024 – 5 Articles

Bob Marshall’s January 2024 BLS Analysis for Recruiters; 2/2/24

The 5 January Articles…

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Majority of Middle-Market Firms to Ramp Up Hiring, Report Says

Daily News, January 26, 2024

A majority of middle-market companies, 66%, expect to increase hiring levels over the next six months, according to a report by RSM US LLP and the US Chamber of Commerce released Jan. 25. That’s the highest percentage since the organizations launched the report’s survey in 2015.

However, middle-market companies are concerned about talent supply, with 97% saying they expect the lack of available, qualified workers to be problematic over the next year. In addition, the report found 66% of middle-market firms anticipate some degree of difficulty staffing open positions over the next 12 months.

“The labor market is cooling but will remain tight by historical standards for the foreseeable future,” Joe Brusuelas, chief economist with RSM, said in a press release.

“The onus continues to be on middle-market companies to navigate persistent staffing challenges in pursuit of profitability,” Brusuelas said. “It is essential that firms attempt to get ahead of the curve and identify the proper mix between labor and investment capital to create the conditions under which they can grow, anticipate and meet future demand.”

Amid the lack of workers, 57% of respondents to the survey said they are planning to or are considering investing in automation or IT in the next year, and 85% of those aim to increase efficiency and productivity of employees.

However, only 12% plan to use AI as a substitute for labor.

More than half of middle-market firms, 52%, reported increased compensation in the third quarter, and 68% said they expect compensation to increase in the next six months. Middle-market executives are planning an average wage increase of 5.5% in the upcoming year.

In addition to compensation, 47% of middle-market firms offer flexible scheduling to attract employees. And 41% said they are helping employees better define career paths.

“A shrinking labor force will define the economy in 2024 and remain a key challenge for businesses for the foreseeable future,” Curtis Dubay, chief economist at the US Chamber of Commerce, said in a press release.

“To adapt, we see businesses of all sizes and sectors working with a smaller workforce by making investments in new technologies like automation and AI as well as upskilling and reskilling, embracing flexibility and filling open roles by hiring previously overlooked talent such as veterans and military spouses, formerly incarcerated individuals, individuals with disabilities and retirees seeking to re-enter the workforce,” Dubay said.

A survey for the reported included 403 respondents and took place between Oct. 2 and Oct. 20, 2023.

Younger Workers Less Productive with Older Managers: Protiviti

Daily News, January 25, 2024

An age difference between workers and managers can affect productivity, according to research from the London School of Economics and Political Science done in collaboration with Protiviti, a division of Robert Half Inc.

The research found employees in the US and UK who are much younger than their managers report lower productivity because of a lack of collaboration between different generations, the report found. In particular, the report said employees with managers more than 12 years their senior are nearly 1.5 times as likely to report low productivity.

“I am not surprised that we discovered a ‘productivity manager age gap,’” the report’s co-author Grace Lordan, founder and director of The Inclusion Initiative at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said in a press release. “There is good evidence that across generations individuals have different tastes and preferences. So why do we expect them to work easily together?”

There are now five generations in the workplace and the skills required to manage these dynamics are not usually being taught by firms, Lordan said.

The research also noted that productivity was higher in younger generations at firms that used intergenerationally inclusive work practices. These include enabling colleagues of every generation to have similar levels of voice when collaborating and advancing employees based on merit regardless of age. Under these circumstances, the proportion of Gen Z employees reporting low productivity drops to 18% from 37%. In addition, the proportion of millennials reporting low productivity drops to 13% from 30%.

Moreover, the research found 87% of employees reported high work productivity at firms with intergenerationally-inclusive work practices.

The research is based on a survey of 1,450 employees in finance, technology and professional services in the US and UK.

Workers Upbeat, 71% Open to New Opportunities: Indeed

Daily News, January 24, 2024

A majority of workers are open to new opportunities and feel upbeat about their job prospects, according to the 2024 Workforce Insights Report released today by Indeed. It found 71% of workers are open to new opportunities and 69% feel optimistic about their job prospects.

What’s driving people to seek new jobs? The top three reasons found by Indeed in its report were higher pay, 58%; better benefits, 34%; and more flexible hours, 26%.

“The data shows that workers are open and optimistic,” according to the report. “Despite continued job optimism in 2024, many workers still encounter challenges along the way and barriers that keep them from applying: unclear salary ranges, lengthy and complicated application processes and a lack of certifications and formal education, to name a few.”

The report is based on a poll of 5,058 US adults ages 18 to 65 conducted from Dec. 5 to Dec. 18, 2023.

Among the other findings in the report:

  • Training: 43% said lack of certification was a top barrier to finding a job they want. And 41% said they did not have enough formal education or professional training.
  • Salary ranges: 38% would stop or abandon a job application if the salary range was not disclosed.
  • Self-reliance: 46% said they rely on themselves to get a job rather than a recruiter or referrals.
  • Too complex: 49% agree that most job application processes are too long and complicated.
  • Resources: When asked to identify their top three resources for finding a job, 61% of people said they used a job search website and 54% said they research every company before applying, while 56% regularly consult employee reviews.
  • Ghosting: Once their applications are submitted, 77% of workers said they typically hear back from employers within two weeks. That said, once the interview process starts, 52% reported being ghosted by a recruiter and 29% said they have ghosted a recruiter themselves.

AI Skills trump other Work Experience for Majority

Daily News, January 19, 2024

A majority of hiring managers prefer candidates with artificial intelligence skills to those with more experience, according to a report by ResumeTemplates. From a pool of four candidates with varying years of relevant experience and AI proficiency, 56% of hiring managers surveyed reported they would prefer to hire a candidate with fewer years of relevant work experience but more experience in AI.

And 10% of hiring managers say they would choose a candidate with far less relevant work experience but expert AI skills.

“Possessing at least a basic understanding of a specific domain, in combination with having AI skills, can enable candidates to compete with more experienced counterparts,” Andrew Stoner, executive résumé writer and career coach at ResumeTemplates, said in a press statement.

ResumeTemplates provided this breakdown of the four types of candidates and who hiring managers say they are most likely to hire:

  • Candidate A: 10 years of relevant experience (44%)
  • Candidate B: Seven years of relevant experience plus novice AI skills (19%)
  • Candidate C: Five years of relevant experience plus proficient AI skills (27%)
  • Candidate D: One year of relevant experience plus expert AI skills (10%)

The company said it’s possible hiring managers are looking for AI skills because their company is expanding its use of AI. The report found that 41% said their company is expanding the use of AI this year and 32% said their company is probably expanding the use of AI.

ResumeTemplates surveyed 718 US hiring decision makers on Jan. 5 for the report.

IT Employment Edges Down Slightly in December

Daily News, January 11, 2024

The US had 3,100 fewer IT jobs in December 2023 than November, according to an analysis by TechServe Alliance. But the organization said there’s more to the story.

“As we begin a new year, the IT employment landscape is not easily distilled to a single narrative,” Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe Alliance, said in a press statement. “While demand for IT professionals remains soft in some sectors, other areas of the economy are ramping up.”

Tech talent continues to be constrained in high-demand skill sets such as cybersecurity, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, Roberts said. And the IT unemployment rate of 2.4% in the fourth quarter is still considered to be “full employment,” though it’s higher than the 1.9% in the third quarter.

“While some of the fog has lifted around the prospects for the economy in 2024 and buoyed optimism, I believe demand for IT talent is going to continue to range widely based on region, industry and even between companies in the same sector.”

Overall, the US had approximately 5,300,000 IT jobs in December. While down from November, the total was also down 90,000 jobs from December 2022.

On the other hand, TechServe Alliance also reported engineering employment rose by 5,100 jobs in December 2023 compared to November for a total of more than 2,800,000 jobs. On a year-over-year basis, the US added 48,700 engineering jobs.