The Benefits of Rebalancing

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Around 500 BC, Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu said, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” 

With so much change happening in our economy, our political environment, and a host of other factors, this seems like a great time to look for the opportunities presented by our current market conditions.

In the world of staffing and jobs, the differences we are seeing in just a year’s time are quite significant. Last year at this time, we were tripping over help wanted signs, paying ridiculous wages for very basic jobs, offering signing bonuses, and still had trouble finding clients the talent they needed to function in the then bustling economy. 

What a difference a year makes. Today, we are seeing layoffs in a variety of sectors, slower hiring, and a sudden and obvious return of job seekers realizing the musical chairs game is on, and it’s time to land a job.  

And it’s not just the job market, look at the real estate market and the effect of higher interest rates on homes. In early January of 2022, the average interest rate on a 30-year mortgage was a mere 3.22%, but by the end of October, it more than doubled to an average of 7.08%. 

Consumer buying power is lower now, and the days of bidding wars, offering tens of thousands over the asking price, might be a thing of the past, at least for now.  

How might this translate to opportunity, you ask? Well, let’s take a look. While job seekers are seeing a day of reckoning, having to actually compete for jobs for the first time in many years, this means businesses trying to find help are getting what they need on a timely basis, and they are back in the driver’s seat in the hiring process.  

The “employee’s market” might be taking a rest, at least for the short-term, and employers are able to return to a place having a selection of candidates and choosing the best, not just the only candidates available. While this might seem like bad news for job seekers, it’s actually a healthy direction for businesses that need to get better talent, more long-lasting candidates, to assure their long-term growth and success. The turnover in an “employee’s market” is a very costly variable that the tightness in hiring we are now seeing will help cure. 

I try to refrain from “the kids these days” commentary, but this turn of events begs for it. Most of the candidates we work with at the staffing agency are south of 30 years old. Think about it. They have never seen a downturn in the economy in their relatively short employment track. They are used to quitting jobs at the drop of a hat with the knowledge that they can find a new one intra-day. Not so much today. I am confident that the accountability of employees, the work ethic old guys like me often refer to, is about to self-correct. I think that’s healthy for the market.

While these comments might sound like they are favoring the benefits to businesses more than job seekers, it needs to be said that the overall health of our economy starts with a healthy business climate, and for them to be able to land the talent they need is imperative to their long-term growth and ability to keep hiring and expanding for years to come with the best talent available.  

This re-balancing will have some victims, that is for sure, but it will also lead to the fundamental strength of businesses, large and small. It might not be visible now, but this current chaos is leading us towards opportunity.

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