Nothing about the past 18 months has been typical when it comes to the job market. But even as the pandemic continues to have a historical impact on the hiring economy, there are hopeful signs that the job market is returning to some of the more traditional seasonal hiring trends we’ve seen in the past. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job report that was recently released shows the current rate of recovery is five times faster than during the Great Recession.
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In general, there are two periods of time during the year that are the most popular job searching and hiring months: January and February as well as September and October.
January and February are popular hiring months because many organizations align their fiscal year with the calendar year. Budgets become available early in the year — right after the holidays when stakeholders return to the office to participate in the hiring process — which explains why Statista reports that February was the largest hiring month in 2018 and 2019 job gains peaked in January.
September and October are popular hiring months because these months are traditionally busy hiring months due to the return from summer vacations, and for many, the back-to-school season is treated as the start of a new year. This year, the national unemployment rate in the U.S. was 5.2% in August, the lowest it’s been since March 2020, indicating that this fall is shaping up to be a peak time in the job market.
Why is it worthwhile for employers to be aware of the most popular months for job searching and hiring? Because it’s an important indication of upcoming movement within the organization and because peak hiring season often coincides with busy business cycles. Organizations that aren’t prepared can face unexpected open positions and a potentially severe staffing shortage.
Here are three ways to prepare for peak season job markets, ideally with the support of a robust human capital management (HCM) platform:
1. Embrace a Continuous Recruiting Strategy
Recruiting should not just happen when a position needs to be filled. Instead, a continual process can help establish a robust talent pipeline to tap into when there are open positions. Most companies who make it a point to recruit throughout the year report a reduction in time-to-hire, and 42% say it also reduces their cost-per-hire.
As Forbes reports, top talent gets taken off the market quickly, so it’s critical to be poised to hire when the need arises. Improving your time-to-hire means you can get new hires onboarded and more productive faster. Adding an HCM with integrated position management functionality to the equation helps recruiters stay in touch with candidates when not actively hiring in order to keep them engaged and interested in your company.
2. Prioritize Retention
The last thing any employer wants is to lose great talent. Replacing employees is a time-consuming and expensive process, with Gallup reporting that the cost can be as much as double an employee’s annual salary. Focusing on retention can help you weather the storm of peak season job markets by ensuring your top employees are satisfied and engaged.
According to the Corporate Leadership Council data, when employees are highly engaged, they are 87% less likely to leave an organization. Engaged workers are also more inclined to recommend their company to candidates, helping to fuel the talent pipeline.
Make retention a priority through increasing engagement by offering a culture of inclusivity and prioritizing career planning, training, and development. An integrated HCM system that delivers continuous learning and development programs can be a valuable tool when it comes to developing personalized career paths that align with individual employee goals and business initiatives. A robust tool that manages both position and personnel data simultaneously but separately can also help quickly identify potential internal candidates for vacated roles.
3. Manage Change Proactively
Change is inevitable. When employees get promoted or decide to take a job elsewhere, it’s crucial to be prepared for these shifts. To mitigate the impact of organizational churn, adopt a continuous planning approach to make staffing decisions before problems arise.
Once again, a position management system can support this approach by tracking how many open positions there are and where within the organization. With access to real-time data from all departments, position management helps employers gain a holistic view of the organization. Empowering HR managers with the ability to see the big picture gives them the insight needed to support ongoing workforce planning and decision-making.
Understanding the most popular job search months plays an integral part in workforce planning. With this knowledge, companies can prepare for these peak job market times by implementing a perpetual recruiting strategy, prioritizing retention, and taking a continuous approach to workforce planning. HR tools like an integrated position management system help make it easier for companies to prepare for peak job season and mitigate the effects of staffing changes.
Especially in today’s war for talent, managing your organization’s people requires up-to-date and insightful planning and reporting capabilities.
One of the most challenging aspects of business planning is developing a staffing plan. The plan is critical for HR to execute on recruiting and backfilling to ensure the organization has qualified individuals filling critical positions.
But even after a staffing plan is in place, many organizations lack visibility into the plan when it comes to turnover, movement among positions, new hires, etc. Business-driven decisions are difficult when you can’t see real-time data to where the opening is and the analytics needed to understand the organization’s turnover.
Once an organization has a single source for the staffing plan, the recruiting team can more effectively and proactively recruit to fill these roles. The dashboards provide the visibility needed to properly maintain this staffing plan over time. For example, if you are at 70% of your staffing plan, it is difficult to hit your sales numbers, launch a new product, etc. Having insight into an organizational chart allows leaders to easily see the gaps across teams, with regard to where there are openings. This awareness creates urgency and accountability to staff the business.