With the U.S. unemployment rate lower than it has been in eight years, the recruiting process is getting pretty competitive. Small-business owners may sometimes feel at a disadvantage when it comes to hiring, as many small companies don’t have the reputation or resources of larger businesses when it comes to wooing new recruits. However, there’s good news: hiring trends are changing in ways that could prove beneficial for small businesses willing to put forth a bit of effort. Here are some of the top hiring trends for 2016 — and how small-business owners can utilize this information to scoop up top talent.
- Millennials are running the show.
Last year, millennials became the largest generation in the American workforce, and that trend shows no sign of slowing. With that shift in age comes a change in values and motivators — millennial workers place a greater emphasis on personal fulfillment in the workplace, preferring emotional validation to traditional rewards. Small businesses are in a perfect place to take advantage of this, as a smaller staff naturally provides more room for personal growth than a more homogenous corporate atmosphere.
- Starting salaries are on the rise.
As competition for promising new recruits rises, so will starting salaries. Recent projections are showing a 4.1 percent increase in professional role compensation in the U.S., and as such, it’s important that businesses budget appropriately. Luckily, the millennial generation is also the most educated generation, meaning employers can expect higher levels of innovation and critical thinking from their younger hires.
- The importance of flexibility and work-life balance just keeps growing.
With worker loyalty down from previous generations, many companies are finding that flexibility is essential for real employee engagement. Again, small businesses have an edge in this regard. By avoiding the strict scheduling and regulation needed to manage a large-scale workforce, startups and small companies can easily provide the work-life balance that new hires are seeking.
- Candidates care more about the recruitment process.
Gone are the days of stuffy job descriptions. As candidates explore new career-hunting avenues on social media and elsewhere, capturing applicant engagement with the hiring process is more important than ever. Millennials value company culture perhaps more than any other generation, and they want to gain legitimate insights into what a company’s all about before they jump aboard. As a result, business owners who are serious about recruiting top talent need to take some time to evaluate their hiring process from start to finish, making sure it caters to their targeted hires.
- Training and resource expectations are changing.
A survey from staffing agency Robert Half showed that 64 percent of workers view “the chance to learn new skills” as critical when deciding whether or not to accept a job offer. In 2016, top job candidates are excited about working smarter, and being able to further their experience and abilities is a huge bonus. Training has the added benefit of producing the type of multi-skilled staff that can help a small business thrive, so as you’re evaluating resource allocation for the upcoming quarter, don’t neglect the education budget.
- Workplace technology could be a deal breaker.
Younger job candidates place great importance on technology and interconnectivity in every facet of their lives — including the workplace. For small businesses hoping to capitalize on this trend, it’s time to embrace office tech. A company with fast, reliable Internet and a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy will seem forward-looking and engaged, making positions all the more attractive to job applicants.
While big corporations may have a bit more clout when it comes to outreach and resources, a lot of this year’s most pronounced hiring trends indicate that small businesses will have a distinct advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining the cream of the crop. If you’re looking to hire in the coming months, make sure you’ve taken the factors here into account, and don’t hesitate to make use of resources from Frontier Business for any other business questions or needs.