Ready to fill some of those seats at your company? You may want to try one or more of these alternative sources of employees in today’s tight labor market.
In Part I of this article series, we told you why it’s time to cast a wider net when recruiting new employees. It’s no longer enough to just let current employee referrals, job boards, and LinkedIn do the work for you. Distributors and manufacturers have to be proactive about developing the next-generation workforce, and sometimes that means stretching outside of “normal” boundaries to find viable candidates.
Got Recruiting Problems?
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), HR professionals in the manufacturing industry are reporting some of the highest levels of recruiting difficulty (second only to those in the healthcare and social assistance industry). “They are more likely than HR professionals in most other industries to say that they require new engineering and technical skills in their job applicants and to work with a recruitment agency to fill their open positions,” SHRM reports, noting that manufacturing is also one of the industries showing the highest percentages of hiring veterans.
“Compared with most other industries,” SHRM adds, “HR professionals in manufacturing were also more likely to report using the public workforce system and providing customized apprenticeship programs when not utilizing registered apprenticeship programs.”
5 Ways to Fill the Pipeline
Here are five sources of employees that you may not have considered, but that you’ll want to add to your recruiting strategy:
- Older Americans. Getting younger faces and talents into the modern workforce is an ongoing goal for most companies, but SHRM warns that age discrimination could actually be costing your company strong candidates and diverse teams. The organization says that workers older than 65 make up the fastest-growing segment of the labor force, while the 35-54 age group is increasing in size much more slowly, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “The number of people ages 65 and older who are still working is expected to rise to 29 percent by 2060, from just 19 percent today,” SHRM points out. “Recruiting older workers, then, gives companies an edge in finding the right talent—and in identifying workers who can relate to clients and customers of an older demographic as well.” And contrary to what some may believe, there is no relationship between age and loss of innovation or overall job performance. “In fact,” SHRM points out, “older workers appear to be more comfortable with change than their millennial counterparts.”
- Women, minorities, and other diverse candidates. A diversified workforce is extremely beneficial in generating both new ideas and profits. It also helps keep ideas fresh and drives away the dreaded group-think. “While groups of similar people from similar backgrounds are more likely to share perspectives and less likely to identify their own knowledge gaps, racially and ethnically diverse teams are likely less susceptible to this bias,” Elise Gould writes in Do I Belong Here? Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace. “At the end of the day, diversity of people means diversity of thought. Despite all of the benefits of having a diverse workforce, some companies still seem unable to draw from and keep a diverse pool of talent. In How to Increase Workplace Diversity, WSJ tells companies to first identify their needs (i.e., does your distributorship’s workforce reflect the community where it’s located, and where it does business?); align yourself with local churches and cultural institutions (both of which can help connect you with job candidates); and develop and implement an equal opportunity employment policy that follows the Federal EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines. “The goal is to establish a meritorious hiring practice that is age, race, gender, and minority neutral,” WSJ advises. “Create a committee to help implement the policy and come up with new ideas on how to attract more diversity to the company. Amend the company mission statement to reflect this change.”
- Regions where poverty rates are high. This one may seem obvious, but have you tried looking in areas where people actually need jobs? “High levels of joblessness have been characteristic of extremely high-poverty neighborhoods in primarily urban settings. Many challenges stand in the way of generating jobs in these areas,” UC Irvine’s David Neumark writes in Concentrated Poverty and the Disconnect Between Jobs and Workers. “These include low skills among potential workers, inadequate and decaying infrastructure, racial discrimination in hiring, crime, and other ills.” He says that joblessness among working-age men was 37% for residents of extremely poor neighborhoods, compared to 19% in the U.S. overall between 2012 and 2016. This presents unique opportunities for distributors and manufacturers that recruit in inner cities and in regions where poverty levels are high.
- Job candidates who have criminal records. According to SHRM, the number of Americans with a criminal history is on the rise, and nearly one-third of the adult working-age population has a record. While these individuals do face additional scrutiny during the hiring process, many employees, managers, and HR professionals are open to working with and hiring people with criminal histories. “For many organizations, individuals with criminal records can be a good source of untapped talent,” SHRM writes, adding that every organization must decide if and how it will approach hiring workers with criminal records. “Employers that choose to pursue this talent source need to understand how to manage both real and perceived risks of this hiring practice,” it adds, “and must communicate their policies and practices to their employees.”
- Military veterans. SHRM says nearly three-fourths of post-September-11th veterans believe it would take them longer to find a job than an equally qualified non-vet. In a recent survey, the organization found that 44% of veterans were concerned their military service would negatively impact the hiring decision. The group says veterans can be a good source of talent because many of the skills from their military roles can transfer directly to hard-to-fill civilian jobs. Whereas smaller organizations were less likely to have hired veterans, most HR professionals at organizations with 500 or more employees said they had hired veterans in the last 12 months. “When looking at different industries, there was variation in the most effective strategies identified, perhaps due to the unique needs of each industry,” SHRM points out. “HR professionals in the education field were more likely than those in other industries to say that collaborating with educational institutions and expanding their geographic search region had been effective strategies for managing recruiting difficulties.”