After a year of layoffs, furloughs, and record unemployment due to COVID-19, the U.S. saw a record number of job opportunities open in February 2021, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

JOLTS reported that the number of available positions increased to 7.37 million in February, the highest number the Labor Department has seen since in two years.

With expanding access to vaccinations, employers are increasingly seeking candidates to fill open roles.

“We are feeling extremely encouraged by the recent JOLTS report,” said Andrew Chayut, Managing Partner at Green Key Resources. “Our recruiters have seen an increased demand for hiring in the last few months and have been busy getting people back to work.”


Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Jun 6, 2023

Hire People Who Can ‘Look Around Corners’

When Genpact hires, it looks for people with curiosity, humility and learning agility.

Instead of focusing entirely on the usual talent indicators of background and experience, the 90,000 employee global professional services firm decided a few years ago that, as Piyush Mehta, Genpact’s CHRO, explains, “We need people who can look around corners.”

In an interview, Mehta pointed out that, “No single person has all the answers. And the answers today are not going to be relevant one or two years from now.” Leaders and future leaders are needed “who are curious and who will learn and unlearn every day.”

It began as a sort of experiment, at first hiring 100 people using that criteria. “You’d be surprised how easily curiosity and learning agility comes through when you get them talking about a topic that is important to them,” Mehta said.

Hiring managers asked behavioral questions about “How they’ve approached projects they worked on. How broad was their thinking? How were they able to connect the dots?”

“You get to understand how and what they have learned,” said Mehta.

Many of the roles those first 100 hires filled were jobs that traditionally would go to people with years more experience. Today, he said, “Many of these people are in some of the most important roles in the company.”

He, himself, was promoted to CHRO from a junior HR position several rungs down. It happened, Mehta explained, because he impressed the CEO by speaking up at a meeting he was covering for his superiors. He took a different position from the views of nearly everyone else in the room and turned out to be correct.

It’s a lesson that’s shaped his leadership style and one, he urges, new CHROs should learn. In sensitive discussions, he counsels, be transparent and avoid becoming enmeshed in the politics. “You have to lay out the facts and say, ‘This is the way it is. You may not agree with the interpretation of the facts, but if these are the facts, how would you react to them?’”

“It’s important that people see you as being transparent and trustworthy. That’s not learned overnight, and that doesn’t come with your title.”

Photo by Zach Lucero


Filling Jobs Is Going to Get Even Harder This Year

With fears of a recession ebbing, job growth this year is expected to be a repeat of last year.

The non-profit business research group The Conference Board says that though cautious, employers will continue adding jobs in 2020. “We expect job growth to remain solid and the labor market to continue tightening,” said Gad Levanon, head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute.

The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index, flat since mid-2018, tells us the pace of hiring hasn’t changed over the last 18 months. However, the nation’s readily available labor pool, reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its U-6 rate is at a historic low 6.7%. U6 includes the officially unemployed, those working part-time who want full-time work and those who are out of work, but not included in the official unemployed count.

What this means for employers, even those who are dialing back job growth, is that filling openings is not going to be any easier in 2020 than it was last year. If anything, it’s likely to be even more difficult.

We’ve pulled the hiring and voluntary quit rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to illustrate the hiring difficulty. At a glance, the chart tells the story of what’s been happening. As hiring increased after the recession ended, the rate at which workers quit increased. At the pace workers voluntary quit during the first 11 months of 2019, the rate for the whole year will be about 31%. On average, almost a third of the nation’s workforce quit, most to take another job.

That gap you see between the quits rate and the hires rate explains why employers are having such difficulty filling vacancies. Up to now, the slack has been filled by hiring new workers, the unemployed and those who had been on the employment sidelines, not looking for a job, maybe not even wanting one, but now deciding to accept one.

But that has still not been enough to fill all the jobs, which is why the number of openings is at near historic highs and the time to fill is creeping up.

Consider yourself lucky if your turnover is low and filling openings hasn’t been especially difficult. Every industry is different. The numbers here are national averages.

The bottom line, however, is that retaining workers and filling jobs is not going to get any easier this year, and is likely to get even more difficult. Now would be a good time to give us a call here at Green Key Resources to discuss your hiring needs. You may not have an opening today, but it pays to be prepared. Because our recruiters are specialists, we know where the best people are. So when you are ready to hire, we can move fast.

Give us a call at 212.683.1988 and be prepared.