The current labor force (total eligible workers) still remains smaller than it was pre-COVID, with 62.2% of workers participating today compared to 63.2% in December 2019. Businesses should be prepared for a continued candidate-driven job market in the near term, but a further outlook shows a shift.
Our firm sees initial but clear indicators that companies aren't so desperate to hire. Although our firm represents a small sample size, it is still representative of what we are seeing in the macro data.
We do notice an extreme inflation for the right candidates in our industry. Pre-COVID, we were able to hire territory sales representatives for manufacturers in the base salary range of $65,000-$75,000 without issue. In today's market, we struggle to fill some of these same positions with a base salary range of $85,000-$90,000.
Much of our workforce is less willing to travel, unwilling to change companies or have left the industry. Unfortunately for companies, we don't see the cost in salary decreasing anytime soon. However, due to cost-of-living increases, this is a good thing for employees.
We are also seeing companies slowly shift toward a higher analytical workforce rather than a larger one. We are seeing companies really focusing on analytical backgrounds as opposed to the traditional "tire hire," focusing more on the skills of the employee rather than the experience in the field.
This tactic allows for that recruiting pool to fill up, which in turn allows the recruiter to pick the very best candidates for the role. Sure, they may not be able to tell you the intricate workings of every pneumatic tire on the market coming in, but they are able to bring a level of analytics and insight that some others might have lost due to complacency in the field and not growing their skill set.
The higher-quality professionals often want more compensation, less travel, remote work (if possible), and other perks that they've become accustomed to during the pandemic. Although companies usually still have to meet these fairly new expectations, employers slowly are gaining more control over who they decide to hire from what we see on our side of the table.
Mike Cioffi is the founder of Tire Talent. He can be reached at [email protected] for any followup questions.