Exhausted recruiters are putting everything on the table a year after the United States began seeing record turnover.
With nearly 48 million people quitting their jobs last year and 76 million taking new ones, the recovering pandemic economy has proven to be a job-market. seeker’s According to recent Labor Statistics data, the labor market currently has 11 million openings, or roughly two jobs for every person looking for one.
“If today’s labor market is a gold mine for workers, it’s a lump of coal for recruiters who can’t adapt to the new world we live in,” says Pete Lamson, CEO of Employ, which owns a number of recruiting brands. To compensate, recruiters are competing for candidates by advertising skyrocketing pay scales, offering enticing benefits, and putting everything on the table to land a candidate before someone else does.
Pay transparency is gaining traction as employers in some states and cities, including Colorado and, soon, New York City, are required to list their salary ranges in job advertisements. More forward-thinking companies are advertising pay to attract talent, according to Angela Copeland, senior vice president of marketing at Recruiter.com.
The bands, meanwhile, are ramping up their performances. “They weren’t even actively looking for a new job,” Copeland says, “and the original salary was not a bad one.” Copeland recently heard from someone who was poached by a competitor and was offered three times their current pay.
She claims that while most people negotiate a raise when starting a new job, “going above and beyond and being extra aggressive like that is a new phenomenon.”
According to Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half, “a higher salary and remote work are table stakes for a lot of job seekers these days,” so employers are scrambling to offer the latest and greatest. This includes implementing a four-day workweek, flexible work hours (which are popular among caregivers), paid vacation time with a stipend (which is appealing in a high-inflation environment), and reimbursements for work-from-home expenses such as phone and internet bills.
Crystal Brown-Tatum, a Dallas-based HR director, began rewriting all of her company’s job descriptions in the last year to prioritize benefits. After all, people already know what job and company they’re applying to, so why waste time when she could tout all the perks they have to offer?
There’s “no doubt” that including exceptional benefits in the mix helps companies reduce their time to hire, according to McDonald. According to a Robert Half survey of over 2,800 senior managers conducted in July 2021, 48 percent of companies are offering signing bonuses, 43 percent are offering more paid time off, and 40 percent are offering better job titles to attract new hires.
Lauren Rackley, 31, was recently awarded a $19,500 relocation bonus in order to relocate from North Carolina to Florida for a new pharmaceuticals job. She’s had to move across the country for work in the past, but she’s never made more than $5,000. “It’s the best I’ve ever gotten,” she says of the offer, which allowed her to keep any money she didn’t use for her relocation.
Brown-Tatum, who works as a recruiter, sees “aggressive” competition on both sides. Since the pandemic began, she’s taken two new jobs and receives two recruiter messages per week with what she considers a certified job offer — not so much a “are you open to having a conversation?” but rather a sales pitch of “we have this job we want you to take,” she explains. Brown-Tatum claims she received one of these messages shortly before our call, offering her $40,000 more than her current salary.
Brown-Tatum says it’s common for recruiters to try to respond to candidates within 24 hours of their application. Because of the fast pace of closing offers, she’s seen as many as eight people leave one job in a month, all of whom made six figures. “When people walk away from a $100,000 job so easily,” she says, “it lets you know how tight the market is.”