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Recruiting in competitive fields proves to be a major challenge

computer 1One key way that organizations are improving their competitive standing is by investing more time and effort into their recruitment strategy. If your organization is focused on drawing in the best possible talent, you’ll be able to maximize productivity and outperform your industry rivals. Unfortunately, there are some areas where this is far easier said than done.

In today’s job market, there are certain fields where the demand for labor dwarfs supply so badly that talent is really hard to come by. Consider, for example, the search for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) talent. Everyone these days wants talented STEM people to help guide their business into the 21st century, but unfortunately the education system isn’t turning out qualified applicants quickly enough to fill every open job.

This creates an extremely competitive market, according to Workforce Magazine. The publication recently pointed to alarming data from a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, which projected that demand for STEM talent is going to grow 13 percent between 2012 and 2022, a total increase of 9 million jobs. The median salary for those positions is currently $76,000, more than double the overall U.S. figure of $35,080.

The marketplace is changing. Your organization will need to adapt.

A new recruiting paradigm
We’ve reached the point where it’s no longer realistic for companies to use the same strategies in STEM recruiting that have traditionally worked everywhere else. Ian Siegel, co-founder and CEO at ZipRecruiter Inc., told Workforce that there’s just too much competition for that to work.

“If you’re looking for a database engineer on job boards, good luck,” Siegel said. “A database engineer in San Francisco is courted by recruiters every single day. That person will never look for a job again for the rest of their career, jobs will go to them. There’s too much interest.”

Perhaps decades from now, the STEM skills gap will begin to close and the market will change, opening the door for a new industry to become the epicenter of competition. But for now, STEM is it. Companies will need to get tougher about recruiting.

It’s time to get creative
If you’re looking for STEM talent in 2016, you’ll need to try out some new strategies that you may never have considered before. Recruitment services expert Steven Lindner told Workforce that sometimes, it takes some creativity to find the right channels to explore for talent. People with “current, relevant work experience” aren’t necessarily the only option.

“We look for clues on their résumé or in conversation,” Lindner said. “For example, if they’ve enrolled in a certification or degree program, it’s a clue that it’s someone who’s advancing themselves, and we don’t want to be too quick to turn them down.”

Colleges and professional training programs are only turning out a finite number of talented STEM graduates, so taking a long-term approach to filling jobs is sometimes necessary. Sometimes it’s necessary to keep in contact with a job candidate for 12-18 months, before they are available for a job that could be a good fit for them. The key is: be flexible and be willing to go where STEM talent is hanging out.

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