What Matters to Skilled Workers Is Changing

I’ve shared my views on how the current labor shortage is a challenge for companies that can’t meet customer demand. Since then, I’ve been asking more questions about hiring. I continue to hear from startup founders how hard it is to find good candidates, especially technical talent. Recruiting for a startup has always been hard, so this isn’t a total surprise. But I am surprised to continually hear leaders of seasoned companies describe challenges hiring skilled workers. I decided to reach out to friends who are skilled workers in high demand and get their perspective. I got some good insights.

I consistently heard that people are reevaluating their current employers. They’re looking at the actions their employers have taken throughout the pandemic. And they’re listening closely to their plans. For example, how companies address returning to the office is important to some people. If they like what their employers have done and the plans they’re hearing, they intend to stay. If not, they will be or are already looking.

How people select their next opportunity is another common theme. Many have reevaluated their personal lives and priorities. They want a work culture that respects their priorities. They’re spending more time with people they care about and want to work for organizations that don’t require them to sacrifice their life outside work.  

Purpose is also starting to matter more to some people I spoke with. Recent US and world history has been eventful, and they’ve had time to think. Outside of profits, I heard that people want to work for companies that are making a positive impact on something besides their leaders’ bank accounts.

These conversations were relatively few; the sample size was small, so my observations are not in any way scientific. But the feedback was still revelatory. I think how companies recruit and retain talent is changing before our very eyes. I predict that the companies that recognize this and adjust will be more successful in attracting and keeping talented team members.