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Alaant Hiring Index: Capital Region Employers Bullish on Hiring for 2020, Even as Recruiting Challenges Reach Unprecedented Levels



Eight in ten Capital Region employers are optimistic about job growth in the new year, but more than ever, filling open positions remains a significant challenge. That’s according to the Fall 2019 Alaant Hiring Index, an exclusive analysis of the area’s labor market prepared by Alaant Workforce Solutions, the Capital Region’s leading professional workforce services firm.

Among 92 hiring and human resource managers surveyed from November 5 through 29, 80 percent said they were very optimistic or optimistic about job growth in 2020. That figure held steady from the spring survey, and increased from the fall surveys in each of the previous two years. Additionally, 70 percent of respondents said hiring increased over the past six months, and 59 percent expect hiring to rise over the first half of the new year.

Employers said resoundingly that a trio of national issues would not impact hiring. Ninety percent dismissed discussion of a possible recession as limiting plans for hiring, and 95 percent said neither trade and tariff disputes, nor the upcoming Presidential election, would reduce their expectations for job growth.

At the same time, 92 percent of employers characterized hiring as a significant challenge or challenging over the past six months, and 84 percent expect hiring to be a significant challenge or challenging in the first half of 2020 – the highest numbers recorded since the index was launched in the fall of 2015. By comparison, 67 percent of employers cited a challenging recruiting environment in the spring survey, and 75 percent had a similar outlook a year ago.

“It is clear that the Capital Region’s economy remains strong heading into 2020, with employers confident about job growth and planning to hire in the new year,” said Miriam Dushane, Managing Partner of Alaant Workforce Solutions. “To succeed in the most challenging recruiting environment in recent memory, employers must be both proactive and creative to attract, engage and retain top employees. From developing unique Employer Brand Strategy to building Talent Acquisition Partnerships, companies that think and act differently will have a clear advantage in assembling top-notch teams that drive performance and profitability.”

For the first time since Alaant introduced the index, the list of fastest-growing job opportunities was topped by health care at 36 percent, including 16 percent in clinical positions and 20 percent in non-clinical positions. That was followed by IT at 19 percent (10 percent in development, 9 percent in infrastructure), customer service/sales/marketing at 10 percent, and engineering at 7 percent.

Also for the first time, employers were asked how long it takes to fill open positions, from the time a job is posted until a candidate is hired. More than half said the process takes two months or longer – including 43 percent that said two months, and 12 percent that said 3 months or longer – and 81 percent said they are finding candidates within the region. The skills gap, at 40 percent, and salary and wage demands, at 38 percent, remain the biggest impediments to recruiting qualified candidates.

Human resource and hiring managers use the Alaant Hiring Index to gain perspective on the Capital Region’s employment market, and to develop strategies to recruit, engage and retain a high-performing workforce. Of those answering the fall 2019 survey, 40 percent represent companies with 100 or fewer employees, with 60 percent from firms that employ more than 100 workers. The next index will be released in spring 2020.

For the past three consecutive years, Alaant has been honored by Forbes as one of America's Best Recruiting Firms, and by ClearlyRated with the prestigious Best of Staffing®Client Award and Best of Staffing® Talent Award. Also this year, Alaant was selected by HR Tech Outlook as one of the nation’s Top 10 Employer Branding Consulting/Services Companies for 2019. Offering innovative practice areas such as Talent Acquisition Partnerships and Employer Brand Strategy, Alaant has assisted hundreds of Capital Region companies in attracting, acquiring, engaging and retaining thousands of elite employees over the past decade. 

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