Episode 84 – Why This Might Be the Tightest Job Market in Recent Memory—or Ever!

Samantha: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive search consultant and recruiter, Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary organizations hire top talent, while helping animal health and professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about the state of the employment marketplace and why it might just be the tightest one ever in terms of the availability of talent. Stacy, thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, Samantha. I’m glad to be here again with you today.

Sharita: Stacy, we’ve discussed the state of the employment marketplace or the job market before on our podcast, specifically how it’s a candidates’ market. However, we have a rather different take on that subject today, is that right?

Samantha: Yes, we do. Let me provide a little background for our discussion. The VET Recruiter is a member of the Top Echelon Network, an elite network of highly specialized search firms from across the United States and Canada. Every week, Top Echelon conducts a poll of its members, posting a recruiting or hiring-related question.

Recently, the question that Top Echelon posed to its members was this one:

Is this the tightest market with the most turn-downs and counteroffers that you’ve ever seen as a recruiter?

Samantha: Stacy, can you take a moment to define turn-downs and counteroffers for our listeners? I know that many of them probably already know what we’re referring to, but I’d like to make sure that we explain these terms.

Stacy: Sure thing. A turn-down is a situation where a candidate turns down an offer of employment that an organization makes to them. A counteroffer is when an organization makes an offer to a candidate, that candidates accepts the offer, but then the candidate accepts a counteroffer or offer to stay from their current employer and stays where they are.

Samantha: So as a recruiter, you see these from time to time and so do the other recruiters who are part of Top Echelon Network?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. And when a recruiter sees and experiences more and more of these things, it usually means that the employment marketplace is tight in terms of the availability of top talent.

Samantha: So what were the results of this poll?

Stacy: Top Echelon offered four different choices to their poll question. The most popular answer was “I’m inclined to think so,” which got 43.6% of the vote. Next was the answer “Yes, absolutely!” at 24.3%, followed by “No, I’ve seen worse” at 18.3%. The answer that recruiters chose the least amount of times was “I can’t decide” at 13.9%.

Samantha: Stacy, how would you analyze these results?

Stacy: Well, for nearly a quarter of the recruiters participating in the poll, there’s no question in their minds that this is the tightest job market they’ve ever seen. Another 43.5% of them indicated that they’re inclined to think so. They may not be 100% sure, but they’re mostly sure.

When you combine those two percentages, you get 67.8% of recruiters who are of the opinion that this is the tightest job market in terms of talent that they’ve ever seen. That’s more than two out of every three recruiters.

Samantha: Wow, that is a lot!

Stacy: Yes, and keep in mind that the majority of recruiters who are part of Top Echelon Network are tenured recruiters like myself. When I say tenured, I mean they have 15 or 20 years of experience in the recruiting profession and some have even more than that. They’ve seen a lot during their career as a recruiter, so I would say they’re a pretty good judge of what is currently happening in the marketplace.

Samantha: Stacy, are the recruiters in Top Echelon Network from all industries?

Stacy: That’s a great question, and yes, they are. Because of that, there really isn’t any bias in the results of this poll. It’s true that candidates are more scarce in some areas than in others—including in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession—but even recruiters working in other industries acknowledge that this could be the tightest market in terms of talent that they’ve ever experienced.

Samantha: And of course, Stacy, you work in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. I imagine that you would say the market is the tightest that you’ve ever seen it.

Stacy: Yes, I’m inclined to believe that the market is even tighter in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. That would be an accurate statement.

And there is plenty of data and statistics to back this up, some of which we’ve already discussed on this podcast. For instance, according to a DVM360 Magazine article published last year and titled “The Year Ahead: Things Are Looking Bright for the Veterinary Profession,” the unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession fell from 1.5% to 0.5% during 2017. And from what I’ve witnessed, the unemployment rate has not risen much, if at all, in 2018.

In addition, I was at the Western Veterinary Conference earlier this year in Las Vegas. I attended an analytics session at that conference and during the session, I learned there from a veterinary economist that there is currently one veterinarian for every five job openings within the profession.

And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for veterinarians are set to climb by some 18 percent through 2026, while roles for veterinary technicians will rise by 20 percent during the same time frame.

Samantha: There have been other statistics in the mainstream media regarding the employment marketplace overall, too, haven’t there?

Stacy: Yes, there have, starting with the fact that the number of job openings in the United States rose to a new record-high level of 6.7 million in April of this year. Not only that, but it was also confirmed in early June that there are more job openings in the country than there are unemployed people to fill them.

Those are rather eye-opening statistics. Once again, they speak to the seriousness of the conditions that currently exist in the employment marketplace.

Samantha: What does this mean for employers?

Stacy: Well, the answer to that question is contained in the poll question we just discussed. Once again, that question was “Is this the tightest market with the most turn-downs and counteroffers that you’ve ever seen as a recruiter?”

In that question, you can see that it means two things, specifically: turn-downs and counteroffers. And I want to take a moment to dig deeper into these two things.

In a turndown situation, this is when an organization makes an offer of employment to a candidate, and the candidate turns the offer down. They may turn the offer down the first time in an effort to negotiate the terms of the offer. Or, on the other hand, they may turn the offer down for good the first time. And the chance exists that they could turn the offer down multiple times if they negotiate with the employer that made the offer and the negotiations are not productive.

A counteroffer situation could involve a couple different scenarios. First, it could involve the existence of a counteroffer, regardless of whether or not the candidate accepts it. It could also mean both the existence and acceptance of a counteroffer. Both of these scenarios exist in the current market, which underscores how tight it is. It means there are more counteroffers being made by employers and there are also more counteroffers being accepted by employees.

Samantha: Stacy, I have a question. We’ve talked about something called “ghosting” before. Does this fall into the same category as turn-downs and counteroffers?

Stacy: That’s an excellent question, and yes, it does. Although this was not included in the Top Echelon poll, it is an indication of how tight the market is. With “ghosting,” an offer is made to a candidate, the candidate indicates that they need 24 to 48 hours to think about the offer, and then no one hears from them again.

In a no-show situation, the candidate actually accepts the offer of employment. But then they don’t show up for their first day of work. In both of these situations, the reason that the candidate disappeared is usually because they accepted an offer from another employer or because they accepted a counter-offer from their current employer.

Samantha: So that’s kind of like a “double-whammy” for the employer that made the initial offer, isn’t it?

Stacy: It is! The organization has lost time and money, and it also lost the candidate that it wanted to hire. In essence, they’re not even back at square one. Now they’re even further back than square one.

Samantha: Stacy, what’s the big take-away from these poll results and what’s happening in the marketplace right now?

Stacy: The big take-away is that the hiring environment in the current employment marketplace has rarely been as challenging as it is right now. This puts even more of an emphasis on the value of an experienced recruiter, especially one that specializes in the Animal Health industry or the Veterinary profession.

In a tight labor market like this one, it’s tough to find the top talent you need to hire. In addition, finding talent is just the first step. Then you must recruit those candidates. You have to “sell” the candidates on both the opportunity and the organization all the way through the hiring process. You have to land them in the job.

If an employer is not able to do that, then they’re at risk for losing candidates through turn-downs, counter-offers, and no-shows.

And that’s why this is the tightest job market in recent memory and why it just might be the tightest job market ever.

Samantha: Thank you, Stacy! This was great information that you shared with us today, and I’m sure our listeners found it to be interesting.

Stacy: Thank you, Samantha. I look forward to our next podcast!