By Rosanna Talese
The signing of the Declaration of Independence. Love Park. That iconic flight of stairs from the Rocky franchise. Philadelphia has many claims to fame. But the city is much more than just a cheesesteak lover’s paradise—it’s also a top destination for job seekers and employers alike.
Around this time last year, the apartment search site Adobo named Philly one of the 25 best cities for job seekers in 2018. The City of Brotherly Love also generated quite a bit of buzz after making the shortlist for Amazon’s HQ2. So, did reality reflect the headlines? I certainly think so.
The U.S. experienced historically low unemployment rates throughout 2018, leading to stiffer competition for qualified candidates—and giving job seekers more leverage over employers when weighing new opportunities. As a result, many companies made candidate experience a top priority, replacing lengthy, repetitive applications with user-friendly, mobile-optimized platforms, and focusing more on personalized candidate engagement and relationship-building.
Looking ahead to 2019, employers will continue to face difficulties as they search for qualified applicants. With most strong candidates already employed, companies will need to take a highly proactive approach to sourcing if they don’t want to miss out on top talent. This is where companies like Acara can bring real value, offering quick access to carefully sourced candidates, while freeing up internal resources to focus on other work.
The skills gap that already exists may become more pronounced in sectors like manufacturing, where worker supply is dwindling. To fill the void, companies have already begun partnering with trade schools and creating homegrown training programs to develop entry-level employees with the specific skillsets needed for their lines of business.
Lastly, if companies want to attract and retain the most qualified candidates in the coming year, they can’t just market to customers. They’ll also need to sell themselves to prospective employees as great places to work. While much of the discussion around employer brand has focused on internal company culture, companies can’t ignore their geographic locations—and doing so would be a disservice in a city like ours! Philly’s affordable cost of living, public transportation system, incredible arts and restaurants scene, and proximity to destinations like New York City and Boston make it a great place for professional-level workers who might be entertaining relocation.
The new year is sure to bring new employment trends, challenges, and policies that you may need help navigating. If your hiring needs are already stacking up, send us a message about how we can work together to take on today’s tough labor market.
Rosanna Talese is Account Executive for Acara in Greater Philadelphia.