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Employers: Finite Talent War

Topics: Current Events

A shortage of qualified applicants is giving employees the upper hand in the talent war, with new hires making 5 percent more than they did only a year ago.

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As human resources and hiring managers continue to seek qualified applicants, a new problem has emerged from the labor market shadows: a talent shortage. ADP’s data reflects a tightening labor market and a country close to what economists consider full employment, with the number of unemployed workers at its lowest point in 18 years. Employers are struggling to fill empty positions, and in order to retain workers and fill new jobs, “companies are dishing out one-time bonuses, pay raises and ever sweeter benefits,” according to CNN.

Says CNN, “Wages for new workers in the United States were 5.2 percent higher in March than a year ago, according to private-sector payroll data.”

New Hires Seeing the Biggest Gains

Terrifyingly for employers – but happily for workers – pay for new hires is growing faster than for people who are staying in their current job, inspiring some workers to test the labor market for the potential of a bigger salary. And recent grads just entering the labor force have lucked into a great time for job hunting, as wages were higher in every sector of the economy for these prospective employees.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Also due to the stiff competition for talented workers, some companies are offering new perks, a few of which that compete with Silicon Valley’s famously over-the-top incentives. BNSF Railway – the largest freight railroad network in America – is so desperate to fill more than 3,500 positions that the company is offering hiring bonuses starting at $15,000. Union Pacific, a competitor to BNSF, is equally talent thirsty; the company is giving some hiring bonuses as high as $25,000.

Trucking company Daseke – a leader in an industry that experiences eye-popping 90 percent turnover – is promising new drivers stock grants after spending one quarter with the company, a first for the trucking industry.

“The company is (also) trying various things to show their drivers that they are valued employees, such as giving each one an official business card when they finish orientation,” reported the Dallas Business Journal.

“’It’s not a big expense thing,’ (said Don Daseke, founder, chairman and CEO). ‘Little things send a huge message to people.’”

Stark Industries, Now Hiring

The talent war is raging in the technology industry, too, with tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook all attempting to snag the best and brightest workers. Apple is preparing to give itself “enough capacity for potentially close to 500 people across five floors inside one of (Seattle’s) tallest skyscrapers,” reported GeekWire.

“The expansion by the secretive tech company is the latest sign of the ferocious competition for tech talent in the Seattle region,” says the report.

Workers on the West Coast seem to be reaping the greatest rewards of the talent war; according to CNN, wages for employees who changed jobs on the West Coast jumped 8.2 percent from a year earlier, compared with 1.9 percent for people who switched in the Midwest and 3 percent in the South.


Are you considering testing the labor market for a higher salary? Have you already made the jump? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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Laura Recent comment authors
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I am located in Cleveland, OH and have been applying for jobs over the last 2 months. My experience has been that many employers are being very picky and looking for workers with very specific talents in very specific industries. Maybe the shortage is being perceived in a different way. The employers are being too picky, therefore only a few would be qualified enough for their talent requirements.

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