Bust These Staffing Myths in 2019

Have you ever watched the TV show MythBusters? I thoroughly enjoyed watching the hosts test “commonly held” ideas, sometimes busting them, and others proving them plausible. Those myths often were founded in some truth but distorted or blown out of proportion.

The same can be said of myths that persist in the staffing industry. Here are a couple such myths that I expect will be busted in 2019.

Myth #1: There is not enough talent available

While it is true that workers with specific skills are harder and harder to come by, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t enough talent. According to Statista.com, there were 1.87 million students that graduated with an undergraduate degree in the US in 2018. That’s the second-most in American history — 2017 had 1.9 million. About 4% of graduates in 2017 were unemployed. That means there were almost 80,000 graduate-level professionals who didn’t have jobs. The skilled-labor market is similar.

Numerous studies have been conducted on regional markets, their unemployment numbers, and factors that are leading to those numbers. Here’s what keeps floating to the top: The jobs are there. The applicants are there, too. While some jobs are not getting filled because a skill is lacking in the candidates, the factors that candidates identify are just as important. Reasons they give are low wages, undesirable shifts, and working conditions that they aren’t willing to accept. With many industries reducing the impact of unions or bypassing them altogether, there are fewer controls on these factors.

How to Bust the Myth. Train your own people and be different. Instead of expecting workers to have all the skills, whittle down your expectations to as small a list as possible and train or re-train the rest. Unless someone is absolutely required to have a certification in something, why can’t they be trained on the job or sent through a paid training program? On the flip-side, a common complaint of job applicants is that they have had many jobs and learned a lot but they aren’t getting hired because they are new to an industry. If you can focus on hiring the right people and training on the right skills, you’ll fill the jobs.

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Myth #2: I Have to Pay More to Stay Competitive

With Indeed and other aggregators moving to the 100% pay-to-play model, lots of staffing companies are caught in a bind trying to decide whether or not to invest more in those sites to stay competitive. When a client asks me what they should do, I ask them to show me the data. Are they getting good candidates from a certain source? What are the conversion rates of applicants to hires? If you haven’t tried other sources, however, you may not need to spend the big bucks on the most popular sites, just shift your spend.

How to Bust the Myth. Instead of running ads on Google, consider Bing. The ads are less pricey and that market isn’t saturated. Try targeted Facebook ads instead of insisting that you’ll only find qualified candidates on LinkedIn. I’m definitely NOT saying you should stop using LinkedIn. I’m also NOT saying that Google ads aren’t effective (because they can be). What I am saying, is that just as any good financial advisor will tell you to be as diversified as possible, I would advise my clients to try many options in several different ways, strategically, and let the numbers lead the way. No shooting in the dark. No spending without measuring the data.

These are just two myths that the staffing industry has the opportunity to bust this year. With unemployment low and companies struggling to fill jobs, this is the BEST time to be in the staffing industry. It’s not easy, but you are getting the chance to showcase your expertise, prove your value and build lasting relationships and rapport with industries and companies that desperately need YOU!

Aaron Eastlack

Aaron Eastlack
Aaron Eastlack is director, marketing and organizational development at The Panther Group.

Aaron Eastlack

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