A Last Look at 2015’s Labor Market Trends

2015 turned out to be a steady or growth-filled year for many employers, and worker confidence seems to be on the increase…but a few mysteries are still unfolding. Here’s a last look at 2015’s labor market trends, along with some helpful legal reminders as you conduct your next candidate search:

Candidates Are Rejecting Offers: Several of our clients have recently had some fantastic candidates complete the entire interview process, receive an offer, and reject it. It’s officially a trend. “While 63 percent of offers are now being made within four weeks of the first interview, almost half of recruiters say the biggest obstacle to making the placement is offers that are too low,” says ERE Media.com. “When a candidate turns down an offer, 25 percent of the time it’s because of money and benefits. And even with speedier offers, 37 percent of turndowns are because the candidate has accepted another job.” How can you counteract this trend?…Read more.

An Explanation for Slow Wage Growth: According to the Wall Street Journal, there’s a good explanation for why wage growth has been sluggish this past year. Apparently, U.S. employers have remained hesitant to commit to higher wages. Instead, they’ve offered more revokable perks such as signing bonuses, more paid time off, and more flexible schedules. A Robert Half survey showed that for professional and management workers such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers, only 69% of their compensation comes from wages and salaries. By contrast, 76% of compensation comes from wages for employees working in service occupations. This shift from wages to benefits exposes the ongoing fragility of our economy.

The Skills Gap and Hard-to-Fill Jobs Still Troubling: Why are there more than 8 million people looking for work, when more than 5 million jobs go unfilled? One reason, says Steven Berchem of Wiley, is the mismatch of skills possessed by job seekers with today’s openings. But for some jobs, such as tractor-trailer truck drivers, work-life balance and training are considerations. Besides offering attractive compensation, employers help bridge the skills gap and recruit new employees by reassessing position requirements and focusing on skill development. Realistically, however, according to MarketWatch, 2.1 million of those 8 million long-term unemployed are “unlikely to be hired under any condition”–in other words, unemployable and probably not actually looking for work.

Questions Not to Ask on Your Employment Application: Lexology is always full of great employment advice. Although this was written for holiday hiring, here’s a great reminder for any time of the year: “When hiring holiday employees, California employers should be careful not to request certain information on their employment applications, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth, marital status, race or ethnic identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy status or number of dependents, citizenship or immigration status, disability or medical conditions, religious affiliation, or criminal arrests and convictions. However, there are exceptions, such as when employers are required by law to obtain conviction information or when collecting such information is based on bona fide occupational qualifications of the position or the industry.”

Misclassifying Employees Can Be Costly: Could you be classifying employees improperly? For instance, just because you want an employee to work as a 1099 doesn’t mean he actually qualifies, and although an employee is salaried doesn’t mean she is exempt from overtime.  In one of the largest recoveries of overtime wages in recent years for the U.S. Department of Labor, oil and gas service provider, Halliburton, has agreed to pay $18,293,557 to 1,016 employees nationwide. The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigated Halliburton as part of an ongoing, multi-year compliance initiative in the oil and gas industry in the Southwest and Northeast. Halliburton had incorrectly classified 28 of its positions as exempt from overtime.

Top Performance at Top Universities Doesn’t Guarantee Top Work Performance: Google has recently recognized that where candidates went to school isn’t what makes them great employees. They’ve adapted their hiring strategies to include administering time-consuming work sample tests and tests of general cognitive ability (e.g., behavioral interview questions!)…plus interviewing candidates at least 4 times!

As we take a last look at 2015 and venture into the new year, we wish you success in managing your workforce and recruiting high-performing team members. If you’d like to discuss a staffing issue or request an employee, click here or call (714) 993-1900. We look forward to partnering with you in the new year.

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