Katherine Saunders, talent attraction lead for Development Counsellors International, told the JAX Chamber’s economic development supporters Aug. 8 that there only about half the number of available employees for the current job openings.
“There are 11.6 million open jobs (in the U.S.) but only six million people are looking for those jobs,” Saunders told the 530 people who attended the JAXUSA Partnership lunch presentation at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.
Saunders is executive vice president and client strategy for New York City-based DCI, which is a marketing and public relations firm that works with cities across the country on strategies to attract workers looking to relocate.
JAXUSA focused the lunch on how companies can recruit, retain and nurture a talented workforce.
Saunders presented data from a DCI survey to learn the traits and opinions of about 1,000 people age 21 to 55 who moved among cities to work in the past two years.
The results indicate that the most important factors for people seeking a new professional location changed because of how business has changed after the coronavirus pandemic, Saunders said.
“Work-life balance entered the top five, and that’s new,” she said.
Also near the top of this list are being closer to family, the desire for a different lifestyle and safety, factors that appear to be pulling ahead of traditional considerations such as the quality of K-12 schools and cost of living.
“The pandemic created an appetite for people to change their career or train for a new career. They are asking themselves: What do I want out of my life?” Saunders said.
More than 50% of the respondents moved from a large city to a smaller community, the survey determined.
“They are looking for better quality of life,” Saunders said.
The internet can be a powerful talent recruitment tool, particularly when companies work in concert with local convention and visitor bureaus to develop complementary messaging that can be delivered online, she said.
“It’s laying the groundwork for awareness and making sure people have a positive impression,” Saunders said.
Social media, most notably Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, also is a talent recruitment tool.
The option to work remotely also is a deciding factor for many people wanting to relocate and continue or start a career, Saunders said.
It is an issue that employers cannot ignore.
“You cannot force talent into your old model. You’ve go to meet them where they are,” she said.
A pair of new annual awards debuted at the luncheon.
TriageLogic, a telehealth company that develops software designed to improve access to health care and improve patient outcomes, received the JAXUSA Innovator of the Year Award presented by Farther, a local technology-based investment advisory firm.
The inaugural JAXUSA Talent Champion Award was presented to Jacksonville-based mortgage servicing provider Black Knight for its recruitment, employee retention and career development programs.
The next JAXUSA Partnership quarterly meeting and luncheon is scheduled Nov. 30, also at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.