San Luis Obispo’s unemployment rate of 3.3% for April 2017 was the lowest since May 2001. This rate makes SLO very close to full employment. In our staffing business, we have observed a significant shortage of qualified job seekers for more than a year. Job boards that brought in multiple candidates in the past now attract only a trickle. In past years, June brought a major increase in applicants as Cal Poly graduates chose to remain in San Luis Obispo. Fewer college grads now remain in our area as higher paying positions with greater career opportunities are offered in the Bay Area, Southern California and the Central Valley.
What are the answers? There is no “one size fits all”. However, there are some steps to consider:
Hire those who are “under qualified” and/or “lacking job experience”. Invest in training to improve or teach required skills, accept that more time than in the past may be needed to train some new employees; make sure those providing the training are aware and accepting of that fact.
Be patient with those recruiting for you – whether in-house employees or a staffing company. It is a very difficult time to recruit qualified applicants in this job market. Reduce expectations for seeing a high number of qualified candidates, particularly for entry level jobs.
Make decisions quickly. With so many job openings and so few viable candidates, companies who make quick decisions, including on-the-spot offers, are the ones most likely to quickly fill their open jobs.
In an earlier blog, I shared the story of two under qualified employees who have both now been with their same employer for more than 20 years. It is definitely a time to consider “taking a chance” on someone who may not be the ideal candidate. You may also find that “under qualified” 20 year employee!