Oklahoma’s Job Market is Changing Course – It’s a Job Seekers Market
By Robert A. Funk, Sr., President, Express Employment Professionals
Fork lift operators, crane safety officers, vehicle wrapping techs, night auditors, diesel mechanics, stenographers and leasing professionals – these are just a few of the thousands of jobs open in rural and urban Oklahoma, and these jobs are filling fast.
The moment a job opens today the clock starts ticking and an employer has 48 hours to find and secure that ideal employee. Just 48 hours! Gone, for now, are the days a company could leisurely hope to gather resumes and take the time to interview a long line of qualified employees and offer minimal benefits. This is a job seekers' market. Companies are competing for workers on every level and are forced to move faster, offer higher wages and better benefits as a result.
As co-founder and president of Express Employment Professionals, I’ve been in the staffing industry for more than 50 years and have helped seven million people get a job. For many years now, our bread-and-butter positions were called Evaluation to Hire positions, or essentially “try before you buy” jobs. Companies can hire a temporary worker in a position for 90 days to test candidate’s fit within the company.
But the robust economy and corresponding lower unemployment rate in America today are changing the way we help clients find jobs, which has caused employers to move away from these temporary jobs into Direct Hire positions. Employers pay us a fee for service and we seek out the top employees matched against job description, role and responsibility. The better employees have about a 48-hour shelf life in this market.
This is a win for workers and companies. Workers can better negotiate higher salaries, premium benefits, flexible work time and a richer work-life balance. Companies are filling positions with solid, hard working employees. Based on Summer 2018 data from our Oklahoma offices, the big winners in job categories are accountants, bookkeepers, machinists, maintenance technicians, IT specialists, production managers and those in the creative market.
Even the so-called passive employees are winning in this robust employment market. The passive employee market is made up of employed workers who are happy in their jobs but are willing to consider alternative employment opportunities if the right job comes along. As many as 70 percent of the workforce falls into this category. Recruiters are mining this talent niche and moving them up the job ladder.
Seizing the moment of this new employment environment is the key for all sides of the hiring industry. Workers – get your resumes together, shore up your training and dive into this market. Companies – move fast, strengthen your job offerings and know that there is an exciting workforce out there ready to join your team.