As we enter the last 6 – 8 weeks of 2018, we see a somewhat unusual trend for this time of year. Historically, companies are winding down recruiting efforts by this time due to a number of factors, such as finishing up before the holidays roll around. By late November, hiring managers and HR departments typically avert their recruiting efforts until they acquire their next year’s budget starting anew in January.

This historical trend has shifted over the past few years however as the unemployment rate continues to remain low and the economy continues to thrive in most sectors. This combination, along with other factors, is prompting companies to continue their recruiting and hiring efforts into late November and likely December. As a matter of fact, many companies implement a “use it or lose it” policy on budgeted funds for hiring pushing HR and recruiters to treat the last two months of the year no differently than the rest.

In addition to those reasons mentioned above as to why companies are continuing to recruit, interview and hire at an otherwise slow time of year, is that we remain in a candidate driven market. Companies continue to struggle to source the talent needed to fill open positions. The time invested is longer and slower, especially in higher skilled technical positions, but also generally across the board. Gone are the days of posting a job and receiving amble qualified candidates to pull from. It can take months to locate and court a highly sought-after candidate and companies are feeling the pressure.

Another reason companies are not necessarily “taking a winter break,” is the disruption of emerging technologies and their impact on almost every industry. New jobs are being created at record speed to keep up with the digital revolution and that means more and more people are needed to fill those positions. Along these same lines, businesses have long complained about a “skills gap,” or the difficulty of finding highly trained workers to fill specialized roles. Existing jobs are requiring more and more technical training forcing employers to make a complicated financial decision either to educate current employees which is not always possible or financially sound, or to look to the tight labor market for candidates with the necessary skill sets. Both options have pros and cons, but either way, there is a marked increase in recruiting these more technical, digitally focused individuals.

And least we forget the sheer number of Baby Boomer as they continue to retire at staggering rates (10,000+ per day) making it nearly impossible to keep up the pace in replacing them. The United States has never faced such a drastic on-going reduction in the workforce due to retiring employees. That in and of itself continues to force openings and create vacancies.

In summary, approaching the end of 2018, recruiters remain busy and HR continues to have its hands full. On all accounts, not a bad place to find yourself if you are in the industry. However, the ongoing challenges of finding enough top, skilled talent due to market trends, low unemployment, emerging technologies and many other complex recruiting obstacles will continue into 2019. Our greatest advice to our clients and potential clients is to continue your relationship with a trusted external recruiting partner who has the time and resources to uncover the elusive talent needed to fill those vacancies.

Written By: Angie Barnes, The Q Works Group