Report: Employers Adjusting to Tough Competition in Tight Labor Market

A Conference Board report suggests that employers may decide to hire more remote employees or reduce education requirements as a global hiring crunch makes recruitment more challenging.

We’re definitely in a worker’s job market, and many employers are becoming more flexible as they work harder to fill vacant job roles, according to a new report from the Conference Board.

The Global Labor Market Outlook report [purchase required], released this week, notes that labor markets have tightened in almost every country, thanks to improved economic activity and slow labor growth.

“If the global economy grows as fast as we expect, employment will grow much faster than the rate needed to continue tightening the labor market,” the report states. “With so many baby boomers retiring, even modest employment growth is enough to tighten the labor market.”

So how do employers adapt to this labor crunch? Beyond asking more from the employees they already have and perhaps turning to automation to help increase productivity, they’re also considering taking steps to open up employment to new groups of employees—including those with lower education levels and those who want to work remotely.

According to the American Community Survey, telework represented 3.1 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2016, up from 2.8 percent in 2015 and 2.6 percent in 2014. The Conference Board report suggests that the labor shortage might be a driving factor in this growth.

“While two years do not necessarily constitute a new trend, if this is the start of a takeoff in working from home, it is worth asking what the cause could be,” the report says. “The tight labor market is certainly a prime suspect. As long as tight labor market conditions prevail, teleworking should continue growing quickly.”

Employers may also start focusing on keeping older employees on staff. The report notes that the percentage of employees over age 55 has stayed relatively stagnant in the U.S., even as it has grown in other parts of the world.

In a news release, report author Gad Levanon emphasized that workers stand to benefit from the tight job market both in the U.S. and around the world. “With more job opportunities available, employees can settle into jobs that suit them better,” he said.

(antorti/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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