Five Hiring Trends to Watch in 2017

Construction worker silhouettes against a sunset sky

Low unemployment is spurring many hiring companies to implement more strategic broad-based and niche recruitment efforts to meet their talent needs. For certain industries, growth and change means these strategies are even more critical. Take a look at five trends that will impact hiring in 2017.

1. Winning the war for talent

Despite widespread efforts to synchronize supply and demand in the labor pool, easy solutions are elusive and companies continue to find themselves struggling to hire the staff they need. Companies large and small say that they face a lack of candidates with the right educational credentials and experience, and especially have difficulty in filling entry-level positions.

This has led recruiting experts to cast a wider net, focusing more on the under-employed (degree holders working retail, for instance) as well as those on the margins of the workforce (people with spotty work history or limited proficiency in English). Identifying and recruiting from groups with lower labor force participation can help fill the gap.

More and more companies are realizing that competitive pay as well as flexibility in scheduling are key recruiting benefits. And especially when the open positions are low-wage, have frequent schedule changes and/or are located in less desirable locations, companies need to invest in their “talent brand” to attract the people they want.

2. Internet of … threats?

High profile hacks in 2016, including the theft of $65 million in Bitcoin currency and 500 million Yahoo accounts, underscore the necessity for businesses to mitigate the risks of an increasingly digital world.

Expect employment of information security professionals to continue to see rapid growth in 2017, as businesses work to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or interfering in computer networks. However, the talent pool in the cybersecurity field is already even tighter than the labor market in general. More than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. went unfilled in 2015, and job postings increased 74 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to an analysis by Peninsula Press, a project of the Stanford University Journalism Program.

Although educational institutions are slowly adding specialized programs, it’s likely that demand will still be chasing supply for cybersecurity talent in 2017, which could lead to more competition and higher wages for top performers.

3. Construction workers needed

The U.S. is soon going to be looking for another 550,000 to 600,000 construction workers, according to The Washington Post, which cites a number of factors including:

  • Natural rebound of housing construction that cratered after the 2008 recession
  • A large millennial population “settling down” and demanding new homes
  • Infrastructure spending on development and maintenance (bridges, highways, walls, pipes. etc.)

Construction is impacted more heavily by the retirement of baby boomers than other industries because the work is so physically demanding. And a more educated workforce geared to professional versus skilled trades or construction jobs means fewer young workers entering the field.

Look for construction employers to use higher wages to poach workers from the manufacturing, energy and agriculture industries, which will then have a negative impact as their talent shortages worsen.

4. Pharma to see streamlined path to FDA approval

Clinical trials are looking at a very different landscape in 2017 than in previous years, as a result of the 21st Century Cures Act (CURES) that was signed into law last month.

Broadly speaking, CURES aims to modernize clinical trials and streamline the approval process for promising treatments, with special focus on pediatric diseases, medical devices, vaccines and other fields of research. The law also provides the FDA with $500 million toward modernization and the recruitment and retention of the best and brightest scientific professionals.

Implementation of CURES is likely to spur hiring in many different health-related industries, including clinical sciences, medical devices, HEDIS nursing and customer service.

5. Regulatory changes in accounting and finance

The year 2016 has been another difficult one for the financial sector, with economic and political uncertainty complicating the completion of the post-crisis regulatory repair agenda, according to a recent report from Deloitte.

Although it remains to be seen how the incoming administration will proceed on banking regulation, it’s nearly certain regulatory reform will be on the table — the president-elect’s website has noted that his financial services policy team will work to dismantle Dodd-Frank and replace it with pro-growth policies. While accounting and finance firms will likely continue with robust hiring for core operations, they may avoid investing in FTEs geared to future activities until they know more about the new administration’s plans.

Uncertainty in the future may lead to an uptick in hiring temporary employees, as financial employers resist committing to additional FTEs and strive to remain nimble while they prepare for a variety of potential changes.