A Job Seeker’s Market

A message from ProSearch’s President and Founder, Ed McKersie

I was recently contacted by a news reporter who was working on a story on the Best Places to Work in Maine and discuss what he (and others) called a “job seeker’s employment market”.

Having been part of the team that introduced the Best Places to Work in Maine program several years ago during my time on the Maine State Society for Human Resources Board, I am always happy to discuss this great program. To make the list, an employer first has their employees complete an employee engagement survey, which gives invaluable feedback to the employer on what they are doing well, and even more importantly, what they can improve on in the area of employee engagement. The folks that run the program rank all participating employers and name the best Maine employers based on that ranking. This of course, also gives these employers bragging rights as an employer of choice- and one that values and listens to its employees.

The reporter wanted to know what employers who made the list this year were doing to attract and retain employees in these challenging times. He also asked if this was indeed a “job seeker’s” market, meaning: Did job seekers have the upper hand given the difficulty employers were having in finding talent?

As I reflected on these related questions, I first answered that, yes, job seekers were indeed enjoying a market where the demand for workers easily outstripped the supply of people looking to work. The more important question focuses on what employers are doing (and can do) to attract and retain talent. It occurred to me that the answer isn’t any different than it is in any job market. Survey after survey over the years has shown that compensation is never the primary motivator for employees. Sure, people want to be paid as much as possible to perform their jobs but being treated fairly and knowing that their employer cares about them as individuals always top the list. Providing the kind of flexibility that this pandemic has required, communicating as directly and honestly as possible, and listening are examples of ways employers can show their employees that they are valued.

During these challenging times, rather than look for new ways to stand out as an employer, I recommend getting back to basics. Employees know, now more than ever, whether they are valued by their employer.

A note to job seekers (and would-be job seekers). There has never been a better time to enter (or re-enter) the job market. Given the lack of available candidates, employers are more flexible when hiring, and are willing to train new employees without job-specific experience. This means people looking to change careers or learn new skills have the opportunity to join great employers willing to help employees further their careers. This market also provides more growth opportunities with employers. Signaling a willingness to take on more responsibility is noticed and often rewarded more quickly than in normal times. Our team has relationships with hiring managers to help you get a foot in the door with Maine’s best employers. Click here to upload your resume and contact our team to get started on your job search today.