Photo of staffing specialist, working on hiring during at time of low unemployment.

If you follow the news, you’ve likely seen at least some of the recent sparring between Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

In one corner: Powell linking low unemployment with high inflation…and openly asking if layoffs or high interest rates are worse.

In the other corner: Senator Warren advocating for workers who might be hurt by attempts the Fed makes to control inflation.

Politics is beyond the purview of Garnet River. However, there is another corollary of low unemployment that is very much at the core of Garnet River—staffing. Low unemployment makes hiring and retaining employees very difficult.

Ways unemployment affects staffing

Increased competition. When unemployment rates are low, there are fewer job seekers in the market. This makes it more challenging for businesses to find and attract the right candidate(s).

Higher wages and benefits. To attract employees in a low unemployment market, companies often offer higher salaries and better benefits packages. This and other incentives can put pressure on a company’s bottom line.

Longer hiring process. With fewer candidates in the market, businesses may need to spend more time and resources on recruiting and hiring. This can create longer hiring processes and delays in filling open positions.

The other side of hiring is retention, which is also affected by all of the above, particularly as your skilled candidates are targets for other companies.

Tips to staff effectively in a competitive environment

Most tips to attract talent during a time of low unemployment are obvious and well worn, but it is still worthwhile to share best practices. Here are five of our favorites.

  1. Offer competitive compensation and benefits. In addition, flexible work arrangements, generous vacation time, and comprehensive health insurance can help your organization stand out from other employers.
  2. Boost your brand. When people have comparable options, feeling valued by a company that aligns with their values can and often is the deciding factor. Review and strengthen your company culture. Offering opportunities for professional development and growth. Provide a great employee experience.
  3. Expand your reach by opening your search to other regions and offering remote work options. This will immediately expand your candidate pool.
  4. Partner with staffing agencies like Garnet River. We can connect with top talent quickly and efficiently. It’s what we do.
  5. Find strength within. Retain and develop existing employees. Offer training and development opportunities and recognize and reward performance.

Staffing is never easy. In a tight job market, strong candidates are less likely to jump. In a competitive market, candidates are more willing to move, but the competition for them is strong, which strains both hiring and retention. Understanding why it’s hard and how you can be more effective can help your organization navigate any employment environment with greater success.

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