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WNC Business

Pro-Tips: Employment Insights

Apr 11, 2023 03:00PM ● By Spherion Staffing & Recruiting

At Spherion Staffing & Recruiting, “We are Insightful” and “We are Local,” which means we do all we can to learn and help grow the communities we call home. By sharing news you need regarding economic updates, labor market trends, and industry highlights, we hope you can be better prepared for business conversations and armed to differentiate yourself as a business expert in Western North Carolina.

Economic Updates 

After five months of seemingly slowing growth, job creation growth rates surged in January to nearly double the previous month’s rate. For a job market that’s been facing layoffs, this is great news! Despite current predictions that the country is on the cusp of a recession, the U.S. gained 25,900 temporary jobs and total employment went up by 517,000 jobs last month. 

According to Mountain Area Works, Buncombe County’s numbers fare even better. Asheville metro’s unemployment rate is at 2.5%, the lowest of any metro in the state. We had 13,039 job openings as of December 2022. 

Other highlights: 

  • America gained 4.8 million jobs last year. Job gains were widespread, led by the leisure and hospitality sector. 
  • Wages grew 4.4% from a year earlier — higher than expected. (That’s still below the latest inflation reading of 6.5%, though inflation has been steadily declining since June.) 
  • Despite some high-profile layoffs in tech and media, the broader economy is thriving. 
  • It is still very much a worker’s market; there are nearly two jobs open for every one person looking for work. 

Labor Market Updates 

A recent “Closing the Skills Gap” report found that 69% of U.S. human resources professionals surveyed said their organization has a skills gap. That is up from 55% in a similar survey in 2021. This widening of the skills gap is concerning and not likely to end soon. The demand for talent keeps evolving faster, and it’s increasingly hard for companies and higher education institutions to keep up, particularly when it comes to soft skills. 

To combat this discrepancy, companies have had to pivot and adapt. Training may be one way to reduce the skills gap, and some firms reimburse employees’ tuition costs for training or partner with colleges or technical schools. The proportion of respondents who said more than 5% of their workforce used tuition assistance rose from 61% in 2021 to 69% in 2022. 

Fifty-three percent of hiring managers said their company eliminated the bachelor’s degree requirement for certain roles in the past year, and among this group, 60% said they removed the prerequisite for entry-level positions. “The move to eliminate a bachelor’s degree requirement is not surprising,” said Chief Career Advisor Stacie Haller. “With two open job openings for every job seeker in this market, companies are at war for talent. We are hearing about layoffs in certain sectors, but in many others, companies are vying for the same candidates to fill open roles.” 

Quiet hiring is another popular practice for some companies who’re struggling to find talent. Quiet hiring is when employers fill talent gaps by shifting employees around and hiring contractors or part-time workers. This process provides a vital solution in times of economic pressure, when traditional recruitment options may be limited due to labor shortages. By temporarily redistributing tasks among current staff, businesses can ensure their essential requirements are met and financial goals achieved without committing long-term resources toward new hires. 

What do Workers Want? 

  • Employees are willing to walk away from a job if expectations aren’t met. 
  • Forty two percent of workers are prepared to quit if requests for better conditions are not met. 
  • A further third would rather be unemployed than unhappy in a job. 
  • Older workers in particular value flexibility, and for many, it has allowed them to re-enter the labor market after the pandemic. 
  • Gen Z and Millennials especially seek more satisfaction from work than a paycheck alone provides. This means leaders need to think carefully about how to manage tomorrow’s talent agenda. 
  • Over half of the workers said that they would quit a job if they felt like they didn’t belong there, and this is especially true of Gen Z (61%). 
  • Employee support is becoming a new differentiator in the ongoing scramble for talent. 

7 Things Workers Don’t Want 

  • Lack of appreciation 
  • Unfairness and favoritism 
  • Allowing no autonomy over one’s work 
  • Showing no Interest in employees’ passions 
  • One-size-fits-all staff appreciation 
  • A lack of meaning 
  • A lack of fun and play 

Talk to Us! 

How are these economic conditions and labor market trends affecting your business and influencing your workforce plans? Has your company struggled to adapt to new worker expectations? Reach out to our team at Spherion to gain a deeper insight and the tools needed to succeed in this tight labor market.

Jack Keebler is a Regional Sales Representative at Spherion Staffing & Recruiting’s WNC office. Reach out to Jack at 828-348-0390 or at [email protected].