The latest survey, conducted between Nov. 17 and Dec. 10, included responses from 98 hiring and human resource managers from Capital Region companies. Of those, 53% employ 100 or fewer workers, and 47% employ more than 100.
The percentage of employers that consider hiring either a significant challenge or challenging – 86% – was the highest figure recorded since the Index was launched in Fall 2015; it was also up from 78% in the spring, and far above 55% recorded last fall. The biggest factor is a labor shortage, cited by 41% of employers, followed by a skills gap and the overall economic climate, each named by 19% salary/wage demands at 15%. In addition, just 13% of employers see recruiting as improving in the new year, the lowest level in two years.
Despite that difficult environment, hiring is expected to continue to surge in 2022, with 76% of employers expecting to increase hiring over the next 6 months, up sharply from 60% in the spring and 54% in the fall of 202. This builds on a strong year in 2021: 82% of employers reported a hiring increase in the fall, far above 51% in the spring and 36% last fall. Additionally, 67% of respondents said they were very optimistic or optimistic about job growth in the new year, which is on par with the spring and 6% higher than last fall.
“As we head into 2022, recruiting remains a good news, bad news situation: employers are itching to hire as the economy picks up, but the challenge of finding top professionals is more difficult than ever,” said Miriam Dushane, Managing Partner of Alaant Workforce Solutions. “We’re encouraged that nearly 4 of 5 companies say they adjusted their recruiting process this year, from improving the candidate experience and streamlining the interview and hiring processes to expediting job offers. Not only is that essential in the current environment, but employers will need to sharpen those strategies as the competition for employees heats up in the new year.”
Of employers surveyed, 67% said they’re most successfully recruiting employees from within their region. Most companies, 53%, say they’re not considering remote employees – but nearly the same percentage, 54%, would consider remote workers if they lived locally. In terms of fastest-growing job opportunities, healthcare topped the list at 40%, followed by IT at 28%.
For the first time since the pandemic started, the majority of employers, 59%, said fewer than half of their staff was telecommuting, and more than half of employers, 55%, said they had returned to a regular in-office schedule. Of those that haven’t, 82% expect to remain a hybrid or fully remote workforce.
Used by organizations to inform their recruiting strategy to attract top employees, the Alaant Hiring Index has been measuring the Capital Region’s job market since 2015. The next index will be released in Spring 2022.
For more information, visit www.alaant.com. Full survey results can be found at: https://www.alaant.com/images/Alaant_Hiring_Index_-_Fall_2021_Data.pdf.