Big Idea 2015: Employers Get Flirty (and Some Will Play Dirty)

December 26, 2014

I’ve been waiting for you, 2015. Being in the HR industry for the last 18 years, this is the year I knew would eventually come. I know that sounds a little smug. But, as you’ll see, when Father Time marches on, so does the employment ecosystem. Shifting demographics are kicking in, and it’s going to make a lot of employers start to act very desperate. Here’s why…

The Talent Shortage Gets Magnified

The unemployment rate is dropping — and will keep doing so. Why? As millions of Baby Boomers continue to retire (you can’t stop the aging process of 77 million people), the generation behind them, Gen X (just under 50 million people) doesn’t have enough people to replace them all. The brain drain is coming fast and furious, and even though the Millennials (roughly 70 million twenty-somethings) are flooding the job market behind Gen X, they aren’t skilled enough to hit the ground running — something employers are now recognizing with eyes wide open. [I just read this book on the coming demographic storm that does a good job of explaining the magnitude of what’s about to happen.]

A recent study by the Career Advisory Board says 93 percent of hiring managers surveyed feel they can’t find the right talent for their jobs. Time to fill rates in certain industries are up to 59 days — and climbing. They haven’t been this high since 2008. These stats rang true while I was on the phone with a CEO in San Francisco this past week. He said the unemployment rate for software developers in his area is at zero. There’s an all out war for top talent there. In his words, “I wish we had 5.3 percent unemployment like the rest of the country — they’ve at least got some talent to choose from.”

The tables have turned and now talent is finally getting the upper hand. With that switch will come a major shift in how companies approach attracting, hiring, and keeping top talent.

To read the full article by J.T. O’Donnell, visit