According to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate has remained steady at 3.7%—the lowest since December 1969. With the latest jobs growth numbers, the economy broke the record for the longest period of economic growth in U.S. history.
While economists debate whether an economic downturn is around the corner, the term “full employment” gets thrown around as well. But what exactly is full employment? We asked Jesse Siegal, Senior Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s Temporary division, to explain what this means for employers.
Q: What is full employment—and are we there yet?
A: The standard definition of full employment is that virtually all who are willing and able to work are employed. To economists, this doesn’t mean a zero percent unemployment rate; rather, they measure it by the lowest possible unemployment rate that won’t cause inflation.
However, there is no set number to measure whether we have hit that benchmark. As a result, it’s impossible to say whether we’ve reached full employment or not. It’s hard to imagine that we can get any closer to hitting that mythical point though! Being in the recruitment business, it is clear to see that this candidate-driven market shows no signs of slowing down, and employers need to step up their game if they want a chance at attracting and retaining top talent in this economy.
Q: What can employers do to remain competitive?
A: As the economy sees record job growth each month, wages continue to stagnate in comparison. This means that while many are employed, their paycheck doesn’t necessarily reflect the booming economy. As a result, employers who can offer competitive pay and benefits will find that they have an advantage over their competition.
Additionally, when you’re considering how you can improve the employment experience, remember that job seekers are looking for career growth opportunities—not just a job. Be sure that you’re able to communicate to prospective employees how you can help further their career with this opportunity.
Q: How can employers adjust their hiring process for a candidate-driven market?
A: During the hiring process in this market, the most important tool you have is time. If you’re able to speed up your hiring process to beat your competitor to an offer, you’ll be more likely to win the top candidate. You can accomplish this by consolidating interview rounds and being more decisive through the process. If you met a candidate that you like, don’t wait to see if you can find someone better—make an offer before they’re gone!
Plus, you may want to consider revising your hiring strategy for hard-to-fill roles. Instead of leaving a role open for months until you find the perfect candidate, utilize a temporary or temp-to-hire strategy to alleviate the burden of your other employees while you look for the right fit.