With unemployment in the US at its lowest in almost twenty years, employers are find-ing it increasingly difficult to find high quality talent. Industries like specialty chemicals and manufacturing face the biggest talent shortages because they require specialized skills. This shortage is only expected to grow in the next ten years. This means the employment market is going to become extremely competitive. Manufacturing alone is expected to face a 7.9 million labor deficit.

Another problem is that employee resignation rates are going up. Employees have less incentive to stick around because they know they can easily find another job. To make matters worse, employers are actively poaching each other’s talent to fill vacancies.

What’s the Problem?

When a job position goes unfilled for a long stretch of time, it affects almost every aspect of a company. Other employees have to take on extra work to compensate for the labor shortage. The company spends more money on searching for a replacement. If the role is one that earns the company a lot of money, the situation is even worse. It is especially difficult if you have numerous candidates applying for positions they aren’t qualified for. You have no choice but to pass on them and keep looking. But over time, this can affect your reputation. People might start to think your company is difficult or overly critical.

What Can You Do?

The best thing you can do is improve your hiring process. The talent shortage means that your hiring team is going to have their work cut out for them. If you use a recruiter, you want to investigate how effective they are at their job. Especially when it comes to midstream positions, recruiters need to know how to sell to experienced candidates. Some recruiters are great at selling to people who are new to the market, but to connect to veterans, you need someone who has vast knowledge about the industry.

You also want to expand your search. If you only look for candidates who are local, the selection will be very limited. At the same time, it is hard to appeal to candidates who live farther away if there is not a plan in place to help them transition. Most people won’t take a job in another state if they do not have viable housing options.

Training will also become extremely important. If there is not enough skilled labor, the labor needs to be created. Investing in education and training is the only real way you can stay competitive in the long-term. One way to approach this is to implement train-ing programs to help less-skilled workers gain the skills they need to advance in the company and start to perform more specialized jobs. The employment crisis is only go-ing to worsen in the next few years, so skill development has to be a priority.

Are you looking for top talent in the Specialty Chemical, Plastics, or Animal Health industry?

Contact us to discuss how we can bring top leadership talent to your team. Boaz Partners is a premier executive search firm focused on the direct recruitment of executives and professionals for the specialty chemicals and plastics space. We are your partner, and our focus is on custom recruiting solutions.

photo credit: Aleksey Malinovski