US financial markets are hitting record highs as unemployment hits a 17-year low of 4.1%. Economic projections indicate that unemployment will continue its downward trend in 2018, moving the job space into a state of full-employment.
“Almost every person ready, able and willing to work now has a job,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPM Asset Management in New York. “Meeting the labor demand of 2018 will require hiring those less willing, and enticing them into the labor market will probably require stronger wage growth.”
Full employment can be a concerning state for many business owners, as they must draw from a smaller pool of qualified workers by enticing them with competitive wages. Goldman Sachs’ Chief Economist Jan Hatzius recently outlined an average hourly earnings growth forecast of 3% for 2018. He stated, “3% growth is a reasonable expectation over the next 18 months, 3.5 [percent] is probably at the top end of what I think is plausible.”
Businesses who need new employees are scrambling to attract new hires who won’t break their bank. This hiring scramble is compounded by the fact that business media leaders like Forbes and Fast Company recommend employees leave their jobs every three years.
As workers become ever more transient in their loyalty to employers, many small businesses are looking for ways to retain the good workers they already have. Studies have shown that employees value flexible scheduling above most other considerations. This has lead many business owners to offer perks like flextime and telecommuting.
Experts say giving regular feedback, nurturing leadership skills, and creating opportunities for promotion are strong ways to cultivating loyalty in the workplace. Businesses who adapt their culture and practices to fit the wants and needs of employees see significant upticks in loyalty and retention.
As the available workforce becomes increasingly sparse and demanding, it’s important for businesses to implement low-cost strategies to attract and keep employees. Those who don’t will have serious problems finding quality employees in the upcoming year.