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Companies Lower Educational Requirements, Increase Teleworking in Tight Labor Markets

As labor markets continue to tighten, companies are pursuing additional strategies for recruiting untapped talent…

  • May 12, 2018

As labor markets continue to tighten, companies are pursuing additional strategies for recruiting untapped talent and retaining workers, according to a new report by The Conference Board.

U.S. businesses in particular are lowering educational requirements for some cohorts of workers and increasing the use of teleworking.

Beyond the U.S., companies in some or all corners of the globe are hiring more women and mature workers, along with increasing automation.

To help counteract labor shortages, the report includes several takeaways for employers. They include but are not limited to the following:

  • Hiring workers with lower educational requirements is gaining momentum in the U.S. During the financial crisis and in the two to three years following it, the share of workers with a BA or some postsecondary education increased among new workers. But since 2012 and 2013, this trend of upskilling has mostly reversed. These results suggest that, in recent years, as the pool of available workers became depleted, employers have hired less qualified workers for a given job opening.
  • The teleworking trend is gaining momentum in the U.S. In 2016, the U.S. labor market reached unprecedented growth in the share of people that work remotely full-time, with teleworking reaching 3.1 percent of full-time employees. In 2001, the share of full-time employees who teleworked comprised just 1.2 percent.
  • Especially in mature economies, companies holding back on raising compensation should do so with caution. Given today’s labor market, in many instances not increasing pay could lead to higher labor turnover, lower success in recruiting, and less worker satisfaction.
  • Worldwide, employers are likely to increase their labor pools by hiring more women and senior workers. The share of these two population groups in the workforce is increasing in many countries, partly due to legislation and higher educational attainment. Alternative work arrangements offer additional opportunities to hire from these groups.
  • Businesses are now more likely to invest in automation to relieve labor shortages and contain labor costs. When labor was abundant and cheap, it muted the incentive to harvest the benefits of technological progress. In a tight labor market, that story changes.

So, if you felt “locked out” of better jobs before, now would be a good time to dust off your resume and try again.

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