Last week I joined Ashley Goldsmith, our chief human resources officer, in an all-hands Workday HR team meeting. I appreciate any opportunity to hang out and talk shop with Ashley and her team, who do an amazing job of bringing the best and brightest people to Workday while also delivering on global programs that support our wonderful culture.
One of the topics we spent time on was the state of the talent market. Most economic reports take a generally positive outlook on 2015, including a job market that’s considerably better than years’ past. This sort of news makes all of us happy, but it also has hiring managers and HR team members everywhere thinking about how this rebound will impact hiring plans and competition for talent. Here are three trends I shared with the team, as well as my thoughts on how all organizations should think about addressing them:
1. It’s an Employee’s Market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Feb. 6 that there were 257,000 jobs added in the United States in January. Incorporating strong job growth in December and November, the U.S. had its biggest three-month job gain in 17 years. Broadening employment opportunities will lead to more job hopping, requiring organizations to put even more focus on hiring and retaining people. Rather than fear this challenge, organizations should see it as an opportunity to really know and understand current team members and the dynamics of the broader workforce. Are there top performers who are unfulfilled and wanting a new challenge? Managers should be trying to find this out and determine whether it’s time for a promotion or new opportunity for them. Is there a potential skillset shortage for a new region or business initiative? HR needs this knowledge way ahead of time, and the information to decide what to do about it.
2. More Workers are Free Agents. The idea of the traditional workforce continues to diminish across the globe as the number of contingent, intermittent, and seasonal employees increase. In cities and regions where competition for talent is at a premium, organizations have accepted the harsh reality that long-term company loyalty is no longer a realistic expectation. As a result, the definition of “team” is changing as many organizations vigorously pursue project-based hiring. Business leaders need to know how to best source and manage short-term project teams as part of this changing makeup of the workforce.
3. Skills Gap Continues to Widen. Critical talent shortages in specific markets and disciplines will continue to create hiring challenges worldwide. In a 2014 survey conducted by Manpower Group, more than one in three employers surveyed said lack of candidates with technical competencies (such as industry-specific professional qualifications and trade certifications) is the key reason behind their hiring difficulties. To fill positions with skilled workers, HR leaders are turning to new talent pools outside their regions and countries. In its report “Talent Mobility: 2020 And Beyond,” PwC advises that “if companies are to become nimble enough to respond to unexpected changes, they should see their workforce as essentially borderless.”
Ashley Goldsmith and I last week with a popular form of transportation at Workday headquarters.
This is a lot to think about and plan for, but I know our customers and internal customers will leverage their collective smarts, ingenuity, and Workday applications to take on any workforce challenges that come their way in 2015. Carpe diem!