According to the results of a recent Gallup poll, American workers are feeling more confident in their job security than they have in more than four decades. Currently, only 8% of full- or part-time employees say they are “very” or “fairly” likely to be laid off in the next 12 months, the lowest number Gallup has recorded since the organization began asking the question in 1975.
Further, the unemployment rate fell to 4.5% in March, which was even lower than expected, according to statements from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. “With an unemployment rate that stands at 4.5 percent, that’s even a little bit below what most of my colleagues and I would take as a marker of where full employment is,” Yellen said. “I’d say we’re doing pretty well.”
So what does being at “full employment” with Americans confident in their job security mean for employers? In short, the competition for talent will be stiff in the coming months. According to the Gallup report, “With employees reporting greater job stability and a majority of Americans saying it is a good time to find a quality job, a shift in the employer-employee dynamic could be taking place—giving workers the upper hand while forcing employers to compete for top talent.”
This is because, when unemployment is low, it generally indicates there are more open jobs available relative to the number of people looking for them. This leads to increased competition for good workers, as companies vie for top talent. It can also mean employers may need to pay higher wages or offer other benefits to entice workers.
This represents a big shift for labor markets in the U.S. After years of workers feeling like their jobs weren’t secure and they should be grateful simply to have one, we are now more likely to see employees who feel optimistic about their chances of landing something new. This means employers will have to offer them reasons to stay, or those workers will start looking for other options. And once they start looking, they won’t just accept any offer. Candidates will finally have more choices, which makes them likely to be pickier.
As a result, employers might want to re-evaluate how they are communicating with current and prospective employees. They will need to put more emphasis on why current employees should stay and why candidates should view the organization as the right one to join.
This is where a strong Employer Brand can be an invaluable asset in attracting and retaining top performers. When a company does a good job articulating its Employer Brand, it can distinguish itself from the competition and offer tangible reasons why it’s a good place to work. Companies should answer the following questions: What do we stand for in terms of values and vision? What factors contribute to and influence our company culture? What’s expected of employees here, and what can they expect to receive from our organization in return (what JWT INSIDE refers to as “the give and the get”)?
These questions are important, because ultimately, candidates will ask the same things as they begin re-entering the job search market with more vigor. The organizations that are prepared with answers to these questions will be in the best position to attract talent when competition for candidates intensifies.