How to Reduce Barriers to Employment for Qualified Candidates

The business world has witnessed a considerable shift over the past three years. Hiring managers, human resources departments and staffing services must learn to adapt to an ever-changing market. With so many unfilled job positions, employers and hiring managers are wondering what’s going on. What are the barriers to employment currently preventing great candidates from connecting with great employers?


At Integrity Staffing Solutions, our experienced teams have been actively identifying barriers to employment that affect businesses and job candidates. Here are four challenges they identified.


Inflexible scheduling and hours. A McKinsey & Co. study discovered that a flexible work schedule is one of the biggest issues for employees. When given the opportunity to work flexibly, over 87% of workers will take it. Similarly, workers looking for a job change put hybrid and remote work options at the top of their search.


Transportation challenges. With rising gas prices, workers’ commute options can significantly affect their employment options. While potential applicants might be interested in a position, some candidates may not apply if they feel like the transportation inconveniences are not worth the cost. For millions of Americans, public transportation is a large part of their daily commute, with public transportation used 34 million times each weekday in the United States.


Degree requirements. There are qualified, hard-working candidates in the job market with a wide range of experience and skills. But here’s the big question: Do all candidates need to have a college degree? Not always! Many employers are learning to upskill within their own organizations, leading to excellent employee retention. Between 2017 and 2019, almost 46% of middle-skill occupations experienced material degree resets.


Traditional benefits packages. Getting creative about perks and benefits for employees is a great way to attract talented candidates. In 2023, workers under 35 rated mental health as their greatest concern in the workplace.

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As simple as they might seem, these common barriers to employment limit applicant pools for hiring managers and career opportunities for job seekers. When employers insist on traditional on-site hours, they may attract fewer quality candidates; on the other side, employees may find that certain careers require on-site hours.


Failing to evaluate degree requirements can be another barrier to attracting the right talent. When job descriptions list too many necessary degrees, certificates and experiences, those companies won’t receive uniquely qualified candidates (i.e., applicants with nontraditional skill sets). Similarly, job seekers might look elsewhere when they see an intimidating qualifications list, choosing not to apply for a role where they could excel.


Overcoming the Common Barriers to Employment


What are a few ways employers can increase their chances of hiring great people? Consider these four strategies to overcome barriers to employment.


Create flexible work schedules. By offering remote and hybrid work options, companies will not only increase employee retention, but also attract exciting new hires. Since the pandemic, over 55% of US adults see working from home as more important now than before the pandemic.


Encourage better transportation options. Public transportation is better for employees, the environment and, of course, businesses. Align workday start times with local bus routes, and watch fill rates improve. If a business isn’t close to a transportation stop, it should work with local city, county and state officials to build better transportation routes in the community.


Reflect on job requirements. Encourage more diverse applicants by working with clients to evaluate hiring criteria. Remember, not every role needs a college degree. As a result of the pandemic and the Great Resignation, many people are shifting industries. So, having a strong continuing education or upskilling program is important to attract and retain new workers.


Offer unique benefits packages. It’s time to get creative! Employers can start apprenticeship programs, creating tier levels suited to their organizations’ needs. Similarly, businesses can work with employees to evaluate their current benefits packages and tailor them to employees’ needs.


In 2023, progressive hiring managers should be able to overcome staffing barriers and find exciting new hires. By using these four strategies to overcome barriers to employment, businesses can create positive workplaces and attract the best job candidates.

Stacy Bliek

Stacy Bliek
Stacy Bliek is VP of marketing at Integrity Staffing Solutions.

Stacy Bliek

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