Message to Seattle’s Hiring Managers – What to Expect in 2016!

Message to Seattle’s Hiring Managers – What to Expect in 2016!

by Jeanne Knutzen | November 9, 2015

0 Blog, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS, What's New in Staffing? Staffing Trends, Staffing Trends 2016, Staffing Trends Seattle

seattle-city-lights-cityscapes-skyline-mountains-small-wallpaperWith the tightened candidate market being the key issue facing most hiring managers in 2015, our clients are already asking what lies ahead in 2016.  Unfortunately, we do not have good news.

Overall in the US economy, the demand for both contingent and core employees will continue to increase while supply in both categories will continue to shrink.  We know the Greater Seattle marketplace will be no exception. In fact, by most accounts, the short supply, high demand dynamics of the entire Seattle job market, including its outlying geographies, will make the Pacific Northwest and the Puget Sound area specifically, one of the more challenging places in the US to find and hire employees in 2016.

We think both PACE and our clients will see the impact of this challenging marketplace in several areas…

The Time to Fill Available Openings Will Continue to Increase.   At PACE we’ve seen the length of time it takes to fill both interim and core jobs (from point of req to start date) grow by 3% annually since 2010.  Today, even in the fast moving temporary staffing sectors of our business, it can take up to 20 days from point of req to start date to even get a temporary employee working.  When our client’s hire a new core employee, an example when diligence and compliance are even more rigorous, the time-frame is easily doubled.

Part of the slow-downs are directly related to garden variety recruiting challenges, the time it takes to find the “hard to find”; part stem from increases in compliance or onboarding requirements which now can take weeks after the offer/acceptance; and part of the slow-downs come from the  more rigorous candidate selection processes we’ve seen clients implement to avoid hiring mistakes.   For our healthcare customers, where hiring standards are exacting and onboarding lengthy, even jobs marked high impact can go unfilled for 2-4 months.

Real and Serious Candidate Shortages Will Not Go Away.   We believe we are going to see more of what we are seeing now – 1) Jobs getting filled with solid but “compromise” candidates – candidates who don’t have all the skills and experiences the employer wanted, but having the critical few;   or 2) The job remains unfilled for long periods of time.  Job board stats show that jobs that don’t get filled within the first 45 days of their posting often don’t get filled in the next 12 months.

As the economy has benefited from the 7+ million jobs that have been created in the US since 2007 (BLS stats), we know Seattle employers are struggling to find both the core and contingent employees they need. From our perch, the issue is simple – the long recession successfully masked some very real shortages in our overall talent demographics that we simply have to deal with NOW!

It may not get worse in 2016, but it will not get better!

The Interim Staffing Industry Will No Longer Be Able to Provide the Hands Free Staffing Solutions We Once Did.  I can’t believe I just said that, but from a 20,000 vantage point and without any personal bias, I know it’s true.

For many employers, one of the staffing solutions they relied on to address both recruiting and candidate shortages, was the interim workforce that, for the last 8 years, has been available in abundance.  Today, there are areas in the marketplace where very real gaps in workforce demographics – supply compared to demand – can’t be filled by either core or non core employees in the near future.  In the healthcare segment of our business, for example, we see the gap between employer needs and candidate availability even for interim, per diem assignments, reaching crisis proportions, in many cases impacting our client’s operational performance.  There simply aren’t enough core or contingent employees to meet marketplace needs.

These are pressures the staffing industry hasn’t felt in a long time – good for our business short term, but long term impacting our client’s satisfaction with the value being delivered by our industry.   In a recent study by Inavero, the staffing industry scored an all time low of MINUS 24 in terms of how users of our services rated their satisfaction with our work.  The message couldn’t be more clear – the users of staffing services, across the board, are not happy that our industry isn’t delivering the people they need, in the way we once did.

For individual practitioners, like PACE, who score considerably higher in user satisfaction, these all time low industry scores can provide opportunity, but for the industry as a whole, it is clearly a non sustainable low point.

The solution?  Good communication between staffing suppliers and their clients; working together to find new and innovative solutions to the staffing issues we share in common – but more on that topic in future blogs.       

Employees Will Continue to Cost You More… As worker shortages grow, hiring the best of the best requires bigger investments in more pay, more benefits, more this, more that, than ever before.  And if you‘re already resigned to “not being able to afford the best of the best”, you need to come to grips with the truth that even the “also runs” are going to cost you more.  Even if you don’t play, you may still pay in terms of jobs going unfilled, staffing deadlines not met, unwanted and unexpected turnover.

No one is advocating for employee pay increases – it’s just supply and demand economics at work.          

If you’ve been looking for an employee for a while now, and haven’t seen the level of candidate you thought you could hire for the pay rate you are offering, ask our partnership team for a Supply/Demand Report that will show how many candidates are available in your area for the type of job and level of pay you are offering.  You may be surprised by either how few candidates are actually available to apply for the job you need to fill, or what you have to pay to attract the right employee to your company.  (To request a Supply/Demand report for a current recruit, contact us at

…And Will Get More Picky About Where They Work!   In today’s recruiting market, the offer of employment is often just a starting place to getting an employee on board.  Candidates, even average ones, have many choices about where, when and how to work and at what rate of pay…and most don’t mind turning down offers, or changing their minds even after accepting.

Gone are the days where candidates would travel long distances to work, or where the costs of getting to work were irrelevant. Work from home arrangements are often part of the deal, as are discussions of environment and culture.  Employees expect the walk to match the talk or they will simply go elsewhere.

The employee “pickiness” issue applies to core workers, temps, and contractors.  Becoming an “employer of choice” in all of the dimensions that label entails, is a strategy that has big pay offs in today’s candidate marketplace.

You’re Likely Going to Need More Recruiting Resources…either resources you hire internally, or resources you hire from the outside on an “as needed” basis.  The growing costs of these resources impacts all of us in the recruiting business including PACE, our network of recruiters and suppliers, and our clients. For example, the number of candidates our recruiters need to touch in order to find our clients the “right candidate” has almost doubled since 2010.  In 2010, each resume looked like a home run, while today, we have to dig deeper into each resume, each candidate, to find the signs of talent our clients can use.


…and More Recruiting Expertise.  Each year the recruiting process becomes more complex and more technology driven.   Sophisticated candidate tracking systems, access to expensive job boards, and accessing all the new mobile recruiting strategies can in fact snag more job candidates faster, but these tools and the people who use them represent serious investments.  Employers will likely look to 2016 as a pivotal year when they decide to reinvest in the resources it takes to competitively recruit, or turn to external third party resources who invest in these resources as part of their business.      

Companies Who Embrace Change Will Continue to Earn Competitive Advantage.  Today’s fast moving business landscape requires employers to actively explore new ways of getting work done.  New versions of contingent, flexible and virtual work arrangements are popping up daily.  Our clients who have embraced these changes, who are continuously pushing the box on what’s possible, are the clients we see competing effectively in their business space.

Yep, we know PACE has to do its job of keeping up with staffing possibilities, but we also want to encourage our clients to keep an open mind on what needs to be done differently compared to what they’ve done in the past.  Hanging on to staffing decisions and expectations that you made in 2012, may be the very thing that keeps you stuck in 2016!!!!


Written by Jeanne Knutzen

Jeanne Knutzen


Jeanne Knutzen is the owner, President, and founder of the PACE Staffing Network, an award winning staffing company doing business in the Greater Seattle job market for over 35 years.   For a complementary and confidential consult on how to get your company or department better prepared for a very changed recruiting marketplace in 2016, contact Jeanne at


For more specific information on the availability of candidates in job categories you are either currently recruiting for or will be recruiting for in the future,  request a customized Supply/Demand report by contacting PACE at



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