The Worker Shortage Is Partially Self-Inflicted

Leadership IQ surveyed 2,770 leaders and employees about their companies' hiring practices and worker shortage, and we discovered that the current labor shortage is at least partially self-inflicted

While much has been made of the labor statistics showing an acute worker shortage at a large percentage of companies, one issue that has been missed is the extent to which organizations' hiring practices are contributing to the labor shortage. Even if a company offers higher wages, robust health care and benefits, and child care, it won't matter if a company is weeding out viable job seekers before they even reach the interview stage. And that's what this current study reveals.

  • ONLY 39% OF PEOPLE THINK THEY WOULD DEFINITELY MAKE IT THROUGH THE HIRING PROCESS IF THEY APPLIED FOR CURRENT JOB OPENINGS AT THEIR ORGANIZATION
  • ONLY 10% OF LEADERS BELIEVE THAT THEIR COMPANY'S HIRING PROCESSES NEVER TURN AWAY THE APPLICATIONS OF POTENTIALLY SUCCESSFUL JOB CANDIDATES 
  • MORE THAN A THIRD OF PEOPLE WORRY THAT THEIR COMPANY IS TOO STRICT WITH THEIR HIRING CRITERIA
  • ONLY 49% OF PEOPLE BELIEVE THEY WOULD DEFINITELY MEET THE EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS LISTED IN THEIR COMPANY'S JOB OPENINGS.
  • ONLY 55% OF PEOPLE BELIEVE THEY WOULD DEFINITELY MEET THE SKILLS REQUIREMENTS LISTED IN THEIR COMPANY'S JOB OPENINGS.

STUDY METHODOLOGY
Leadership IQ surveyed 2,770 leaders and employees in the United States about their companies' hiring practices and worker shortage during the week of October 11, 2021. Respondents answered more than two dozen questions about their organization's hiring practices and current levels of worker shortage.  

WORKER SHORTAGE FINDING #1: ONLY 39% OF PEOPLE THINK THEY WOULD DEFINITELY MAKE IT THROUGH THE HIRING PROCESS IF THEY APPLIED FOR CURRENT JOB OPENINGS AT THEIR ORGANIZATION

One of the goals of an effective hiring process is to recruit candidates who resemble the company's current high performers. Yet, when we asked current employees whether they thought they would make it through their company's selection process, they were doubtful. Specifically, we asked people, "If you changed your name on your resume and applied for your current job, do you think you would make it through your company's screening process?"

worker shortage resume

As you can see in the above chart, only 39% of people are confident that they would be hired for their company's job openings. Meanwhile, around 45% of people are doubtful (or at least uncertain) that they could make it through the hiring process to win their current job with their current employer. This is especially problematic given the staffing shortage faced at many organizations.

WORKER SHORTAGE FINDING #2: only 10% of leaders believe that their company's hiring processes never turn away the applications of potentially successful job candidates 

There is a readily-available labor force, but a large percentage of leaders believe that their company discards the applications of candidates who could successfully perform the job, but don't fit the exact criteria in the job description. We asked respondents, "Does your company's processes discard the application of candidates who could successfully perform the job, but don't fit the exact criteria in the job description?"

worker shortage applicants

As you can see in the above chart, around a third of people believe that their company is chasing away viable candidates from the labor market at least 50% of the time. It's tough enough to overcome a labor shortage, but when an organization has unnecessarily strict criteria for hiring or even interviewing candidates, the problem is significantly exacerbated. 

WORKER SHORTAGE FINDING #3: more than a third of people worry that their company is too strict with their hiring criteria

It's not uncommon for an executive or business owner to lament a dearth of available workers. But this study reveals that perhaps the problem isn't too generous unemployment benefits or a lack of qualified workers, but rather unnecessarily strict hiring criteria. We asked people specifically to rate the statement, "Our company is too strict with our hiring criteria."

worker shortage hiring criteria

As you can see in the above chart, 38% of respondents worry that, at least 50% of the time, their hiring criteria are too strict. While we would certainly hesitate to recommend an organization loosening its standards, it's fair to wonder whether all hiring criteria are necessary for all jobs. For example, how many years of experience are truly necessary for restaurant workers? Even for a health care worker, is there a magic number of years of experience that guarantees success? These are questions that organizations facing worker shortages need to assess critically.

WORKER SHORTAGE FINDING #4: Only 49% of people believe they would definitely meet the experience requirements listed in their company's job openings.

As noted previously, how many years or months of experience is the exact right amount for your current job openings? Whatever that number, when we asked people, "Given the EXPERIENCE requirements listed in your company's current open positions, do you think you would meet those requirements?" only 49% thought they would definitely meet those criteria.

worker shortage experience

WORKER SHORTAGE FINDING #5: Only 55% of people believe they would definitely meet the skills requirements listed in their company's job openings.

When you list skills requirements in job openings, how many of those skills are truly critical? A cursory review of typical job openings shows that there are plenty of "required skills" listed in most job openings that have nothing to do with the effective performance of that job. That's why only 55% of people responded "definitely" when we asked them, "Given the SKILLS requirements listed in your company's current open positions, do you think you would meet those requirements?"

worker shortage skills

WORKER SHORTAGE FINDING #6: 70% of people believe they would definitely meet the education requirements listed in their company's job openings.

Unlike the previous findings, it appears that companies are more pragmatic when it comes to their educational requirements. A far larger 70% of people answer definitely to the question, "Given the EDUCATION requirements listed in your company's current open positions, do you think you would meet those requirements?"

worker shortage education

MEDIA INQUIRIES:
For media inquiries about this study, including to interview Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ,  please contact media@leadershipiq.com

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