Employees Looking for New Opportunities in 2018

Workers are looking for new opportunities and companies are ready to hire. However, this does not mean finding the best match is easy. With talent shortages and the job search experience changing, here’s some tips and a leading CHRO weighs in.

February 22, 2018 – Approximately three in 10 (29 percent) professionals intend to look for a new position in the next 12 months, according to a survey by Accountemps, a recruiting arm of Robert Half. Of the 27 markets surveyed, Los Angeles (40 percent), Austin (38 percent), and Dallas (37 percent) topped the list of U.S. cities with the most workers planning to find new opportunities.

“The employment market is favorable for job seekers right now, but candidates still need to put their best foot forward,” said Michael Steinitz, executive director for Accountemps. “While some aspects of the job search have changed over time, others are timeless, like having a concise and compelling resume, following up with employers after applying for a job, and sending a thank-you note after an interview.”

Here are some additional findings from recent Accountemps job search surveys:

  • Resume length is less important. Almost half (46 percent) of senior managers prefer a one-page resume for staff-level candidates, and nearly an equal number (47 percent) believe two pages is an ideal length. Ten years ago, managers were more likely to want just one page. For executive roles, half of managers (50 percent) cited two pages as acceptable, while 21 percent were most receptive to one page.
  • Employers consider more than a resume when evaluating potential hires. More than half (56 percent) of managers said the candidate’s online profile is equally important.
  • Follow-up is expected and appreciated.All HR managers surveyed encourage candidates to check in after submitting a job application. Eight in 10 (80 percent) respondents said they take thank-you messages into account when deciding who to hire, but HR managers reported receiving notes from only 24 percent of applicants. The survey also found email is the most common way to stay in touch and send thank-you notes. While following up is key, 33 percent of HR managers said they have removed a candidate from consideration because they were too pushy after an interview.

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Accountemps offers the following job search tips:

  • Take stock of your successes. List your accomplishments to help you update your resume and prepare for interviews. Be ready to explain your most important career achievements with specific examples.
  • Check your online presence.Review your social media accounts to ensure they cast you in a favorable light. Also, keep your online profile up to date, noting key accomplishments at your current and previous jobs.
  • Tailor the resume to the position and employer. Describe your skills and experience in relation to the job opportunity. Detail significant contributions you’ve made at your current or former employer and how they impacted the department or company’s bottom line.

Related: Bringing Today’s Candidates Into New Talent Pipelines

  • Follow up throughout the application process. Always follow up with a thank-you note immediately after the interview. It’s also okay to send a quick email to the hiring manager one to two weeks after submitting your resume or interviewing if you have not heard anything, but keep follow-up communication to a minimum. You don’t want to be perceived as pushy, the report said.
  • Know what you’re worth. Many companies are wooing in-demand candidates with higher pay and other benefits. Use resources to determine a starting compensation range for your desired position in your local market.
  • Partner with a specialized recruiter. Work with a staffing firm to uncover opportunities that match your skill-set. Consider temporary work to learn which industries and work environments suit you or get your foot in the door at a company that interests you, said Accountemps.

Companies Are Ready to Hire

According to a recently released report by Indeed61 percent of the 1,000 HR leaders who were surveyed said they expect to hire more people this year than they did in 2017. By contrast, just 10 percent are planning to reduce their rate of hiring, while the rest plan to maintain current levels.

Most businesses in virtually every industry should see a jump in hiring in 2018, but some will be more aggressive in going after talent than others, according to the report. The most active sectors for recruiting will be architecture and engineering, where 82 percent plan to hire; IT and telecom companies (75 percent); and professional services firms (71 percent).

Related: How Companies are Preparing for the Future of Work

“I’ve been recruiting for nearly 30 years, and rarely have I been as optimistic as I am right now about the coming year,” said Rob Tillman, founder of executive search firm TillmanCarlson. “Historically, recruiting activity has most closely tracked the consumer confidence index which is now at a 17-year high. With the stock market at all-time highs and tax cuts on the horizon, economic conditions should get even better in 2018. While we may be entering the final stages of the economic recovery, the trends we see in the war for talent should become even more pronounced in 2018.”

Talent Shortages

Top global HR leaders and executive recruiters say these are tough days for finding talent in virtually every market sector around the world, and it’s a situation that is unlikely to improve anytime soon. Companies also continue to have trouble attracting and hiring top talent. As the scope of readily available high-level candidates shrinks, leading prospects have more offers than ever. A recent study by Aberdeen Group found that 87 percent of companies have difficulty establishing a talent pipeline.


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Hundreds of media outlets are running pieces every week about the talent shortage and challenges in finding skilled labor and filling top level job openings. Companies, of course, are well aware of the problem.


“I feel like hiring great talent is tougher than at any time before,” said Gabor Varjasi, chief human resources officer at the Hungarian Post in Budapest. “We should be getting ready for how much harder it will be in a few years because the talent shortage problem is deepening. New jobs are emerging in the U.S., Europe and Asia and Africa is also developing by tremendous investments in banking, the telecom sector and a number of others.”

Related: Four Major Global Recruiting Trends from LinkedIn

“Company talent pools are shrinking, and competition is getting more intense,” said Mr. Varjasi. “The only way to get ahead of all this is to understand as best we can the trends that are shaping how organizations should and could recruit in the coming years. For anyone connected to HR, you better get more informed very fast about the challenges as well as the opportunities coming. AI will soon infuse every aspect of HR. We’re simply not ready for this, especially on a global scale.”

More countries are delivering positive economic news every week, Mr. Varjasi said. But he questions how sustainable growth can be with such a lack of talent. “We cannot expand without people,” he said. “So I expect pressure to remain on finding and retaining talent across Europe and U.S. Asia, on the other hand, is becoming more and more attractive on the global labor market. It’s going to be a bumpy ride into the future.”

Related: Hiring Pressures Mount as Talent Supply Tightens

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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