With unemployment in the executive, managerial and professional sector hovering around 2 percent, companies across many industries are struggling to find top talent. A recent survey conducted by MRINetwork®, underscores the need to reconsider the qualifications required of candidates, as well as the incentives potential employers should offer to attract applicants into their companies.
According to the 2018 MRINetwork Performance Management Study, due to a lack of industry-experienced talent, nearly 80 percent of employers surveyed agree or strongly agree they're more likely to hire people with transferable skills.
"Because of the increased competition for high performers, employers are now more willing to make concessions to find needed talent that can move their organizations forward," says Nancy Halverson, general manager of MRINetwork. "Instead of focusing on the perfect candidate who has worked several years in the industry, they're recognizing that an applicant can still have a tremendous impact based on other work experiences and methodologies that would be welcomed in the organization."
"By considering those with transferable skills," observes Halverson, "you can significantly expand the number of applicants and focus on more general skills, such as organization, teamwork and communication, which might be just as important for the role, but are much less teachable than specific, technical skills."
Both employers and candidates see poor communication as a problem in this area, according to the study. "Companies need to make it clear they are open to candidates who have applicable expertise, despite their lack of specific industry experience," advises Halverson, "and candidates need to focus on how they discuss transferable skills during the interview process and demonstrate how those skills can be applied to a different industry."
The study also indicated that half of the surveyed employers are increasing the rate at which they offer sign-on perks. Among the top perks that organizations are willing to provide are company-paid health insurance, sign-on bonuses and moving expenses. Candidates are on the same page as employers about the desirability of these benefits, with 76 percent citing both sign-on bonuses and health insurance, and 54 percent citing moving expenses as most important to them. A number of employers also stated they are willing to offer tuition reimbursement (33 percent) and even pay moving expenses (32 percent) as incentives.
"Employee perks can have a significant impact on the ability to attract desirable candidates and lower employee turnover," says Halverson. "Some of the standard benefits packages offered by companies just aren't cutting it, which is why many firms have decided to augment them to stay ahead of their competition for top candidates."
An interesting finding of the survey suggested that while employers are boosting sign-on perks, many candidates are unaware of the potential perks they could be leaving on the table. Halverson believes that organizations need to become more forthcoming about these perks during the hiring process and applicants need to become less afraid to negotiate these benefits.
In a down market, candidates will be less demanding and more flexible with employers. But in today's market, applicants have numerous options, so it is imperative that the way employers approach them and the advantages that are offered give candidates every reason to want to join a company.