The Talent Drought

I’m sure that many of you are wondering where I might be going with this “forecast” when unemployment numbers are higher than we’ve ever seen in our lifetime.  But, just as the great recession storm blew in with great force leaving many jobless with little warning, the tide has turned and a great talent drought is creeping up on us now. Some industries are already in the midst of it, while it will take time for others to really feel it.  But, I can tell you this – the talent war is ON and your company better be prepared.

Have you noticed that it’s taking an extraordinary long time to fill that open position on your team? Were you bummed to find out that your “work best friend” (who recruited you to the company) was recruited to a competitor for a bigger and better opportunity because she didn’t get that promotion that was promised to her? Has your company interviewed some really stellar people to replace your manager who left last month, but hasn’t yet made an offer to any of them? Didn’t you think it was going to be really easy to hire a new admin, but even with all of the job board ads, nobody seems to be “right?” Or, have you been interviewing for the same job at a company for the past two months- just sitting, waiting for them to make a decision.

Many companies are rapidly growing again and their needs for talent are real. But many of them are still operating under the assumption that there are tons of people lined up outside their doors to work with them. I mean…there’s a bunch of talent out there, right?  Yes, there are a lot of very talented people out there who are seeking new opportunities. But, while companies are eager to hire, they aren’t ready to hire just “anyone.” They want candidates who fit 100% of the job description and company culture from top to bottom – and so far they have had the luxury to wait it out until they find “the one.”  But how long can this go on?  Not much longer. The longer the roles stay vacant and the more dried-up the pipelines become, the more the companies suffer, both now and in the long-term.

My friends, we’ve entered a new era in talent acquisition. Companies and their employees can’t keep up with growing business on skeletal staffs anymore. Nor can they afford to lose or bypass top talent if they want to be competitive in the marketplace. Talent is the core of any organization – your company’s future depends heavily on the people you hire.

Here are a few things your company can do to weather the talent drought:

Be Flexible

Ideally you’re holding out for that candidate with a Marketing degree and two internships form top communications companies. But, what about the Psychology major who is an excellent writer that the team just loved? With a little bit of training, he could be up to speed in no-time. He may not be able to hit the ground running on day one, but if he has all of the makings of a star player, why pass him up? Once he comes up to speed, he could be just as golden as the person with the degree and internships.

Move Quickly

Timing is everything. If you drag your feet, the candidate you love will get swooped up by your competitor. If you found “the one,” make it happen. Why wait? It could be a long time before another “one” comes your way.


Be proactive. Budgets may still be a little tight, but if you meet a superstar who wants to work for you, make the investment! You’ll be happy you did. It’s much more effective to have the person at your fingertips to lead that project that will be coming in next month, rather than spending weeks or months trying to find one when the business is staring you in the face.

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.”

-Lawrence Bossidy,
Former COO of GE & author

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