5 Creative Hiring Strategies: Accounting for Labor Shortages

By: Sarah Roberts
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In today’s labor market, looking for talent in overlooked places can give a company a competitive edge. JP Morgan Chase recently published their plan to fill employment gaps by hiring people with criminal records. Businesses that hire people with criminal records report high retention rates and increased employee loyalty, according to CNBC.

Studies suggest that JP Morgan’s plan is, therefore, a wise one. The Justice Department reports that 10,000 people are released from US prisons each week. Some of them take advantage of educational opportunities and earn degrees or professional skills while incarcerated. By removing the “have you ever been convicted” box from their application, JP Morgan avoids filtering out potential hires. Instead, they’re opening the door to individuals looking to rebuild their lives and increasing their brand inclusivity. 
Verbit is partnering with leaders in the finance sector to make their work environments more inclusive.  We’re seeing financial firms not only embed solutions to promote inclusion for current staff, but also pay more attention to inclusion in hiring practices.  Those who are doing so are opening the doors to unexpected sources of talent. We’re watching them build diverse companies and account for challenges in today’s tough hiring market as a result.

Here are five hiring strategies to consider to help your company account for labor shortages and thrive.

1. Hire people with disabilities

People with disabilities represent a large, educated and often untapped talent pool. In 2020, the employment rate for people with disabilities holding a college degree or higher was just 25.7%. That same year, the US employment rate for all people with college degrees or higher was 82.3%

Additionally, surveys indicate that employees with disabilities have a retention rate of 80%. Some employers are now creating programs and partnerships to recruit and train these individuals to fill roles in their companies. 

Freddie Mac, for example, spearheaded a neurodiversity program to recruit and train people on the autism spectrum. The program boasts success stories, including one involving a talented actuary who was struggling to make it through interview processes. Freddie Mac removes that barrier through an internship program and states that autism isn’t a detriment; it’s a difference. 
Additionally, the housing finance company states that it supports its other employees with disabilities through accommodations like video captions and flexible work schedules. Advocates for people with disabilities point out that corporations shouldn’t fear costs related to workplace accommodations. In fact, most accommodations come at no cost, and those with a price tag are typically inexpensive.

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2. Don’t fear resume gaps

Viewing resume gaps as a red flag is becoming a thing of the past. While employers may worry that prospective employees might not be serious about their careers or that their skills might be stale, the last few years have shown that there are many legitimate reasons people may take a break from the workforce. 

One of the most common causes of a resume gap is childcare. The number of parents who left their jobs to care for children during the pandemic ballooned. Many of these potential employees have work experience mixed with the invaluable skills that come with parenting. For instance, parenting a child requires significant organizational, managerial, communication and time management skills. 

Also, now that so many people had to make the hard decision to step back and take time for their families, the financial industry can’t afford to filter out talented applicants with resume gaps. Instead, you should speak to candidates about those gaps and find out what valuable skills they might have learned during their time out of the office. They likely have a lot to bring to the table.

3. Pull in people from the gig market

According to Upwork, freelancers account for about 36% of the US workforce. This number includes 51% of people with postgraduate degrees. Many freelancers also have years of experience under their belts. These professionals choose this career path for a variety of reasons. Some top draws include:

  • Flexibility
  • Work from home arrangements
  • Career ownership

As a modern business, you might be able to offer some of the perks that freelancing provides combined with the security of a salaried position. In fact, these three factors are critical for attracting any employees in today’s market.

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4. Use remote work arrangements to go global

Remote work possibilities don’t just help you attract freelancers. They also extend your reach to include a much wider talent pool. For instance, if open positions are conducive to remote work, your geographic range for candidates extends to all corners of the globe. The unplanned virtual work experiment that COVID imposed on the world showcased the possibilities these arrangements present. 

Surveys indicate that the financial industry had impressive success with remote work policies. According to PWC, more than 70% of financial services providers found that remote work arrangements were successful or very successful. Moving forward, 69% of financial services firms plan to have most of their employees working remotely at least some of the time. 

Developing a successful work-from-home policy requires that employees have the right tools at their disposal. In addition to hardware, they’ll need security, communication channels and potentially accommodations. For instance, Verbit’s video conference call captioning for Zoom helps support efforts to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other guidelines.

5. Create a training program to build the skill sets you need

Some members of the financial sector are creating their own talent pipelines with strategic internships and training programs. If candidates with the right skill sets aren’t popping up in your searches, find people with impressive qualities and give them the right skills. 

Bloomberg reports that firms plan on bringing in 22.6% more interns this year to train them as future employees. That growth is in response to the talent shortage. The financial industry is converting about 56% of those interns into full-time employees. The high conversion rate makes finance one of the top three industries for moving interns into professional positions. 

Developing a strategic training program will help your firm nurture employees with the skills it values most.

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Diverse hiring and building a stronger workplace

Financial institutions and other corporations that diversify their hiring enjoy extensive benefits beyond filling positions with qualified candidates. Widening your hiring pools to include overlooked populations can improve your workforce diversity. Building more diversity into your financial institution can boost creativity, help you break into new markets and become more profitable.

For example, McKinsey recently published a report titled “Closing the gender gap: Leadership perspectives on promoting women in financial services.” It indicated that companies with the highest levels of gender diversity in leadership positions are 21% more likely to outperform the competition in profitability. Additionally, firms with the most cultural and ethnic diversity are 33% more likely to lead their industries in profitability.

Likewise, leading companies have found that hiring people with disabilities is good for their bottom line. Forbes points out that Microsoft and Merck are tapping into this talent pool and finding employees who have been solving problems for their entire lives. The ingenuity these individuals bring to the workforce also helps you meet the needs of underserved populations. Additionally, the total disposable income of adults in the US with disabilities is $490 billion. Hiring people who can help you understand that market is savvy business.

Verbit serves as an essential partner in helping companies create inclusive and accessible business practices. Contact us to learn more about how our solutions like captioning, transcription and translation can help your company become a more inclusive place for prospective and current employees.