Candidates: Are you interviewing and need support?
When we think of workforce planning, we tend to think of our organization as existing in a vacuum.
“How many hourly employees will we need next year?”
“Will engineering headcount increase or decrease?”
“What do we expect turnover to be at the management level?”
These are very important questions, and they deserve consideration. But there’s another, equally important, part of the workforce planning equation: evaluating external talent supply.
External talent supply describes the market of available talent for the roles you need to fill.
You’re probably not tracking this yet.
Understanding the talent marketplace is crucial for both budgeting and developing recruiting strategy. You need to understand how your internal talent demands compare to the external talent supply.
Generally speaking, you should look at the market of external talent at the same time you conduct workforce planning.
Some job roles are also a better natural fit for analysis. Since market analysis plays a key role in directing your recruiting efforts and making them more effective, focus on roles that take up a large percentage of your time and budget.
Good fits for analysis are:
In this blog, you’ll learn how to analyze the market of available talent for a specific job role. We’ll illustrate with a mock analysis of the talent market for customer service representatives in financial services.
Most jobs have close analogues. When analyzing the available talent market for a particular role, it’s important to keep these in mind. The available talent market for a given role is the number of people who could realistically fill the job. An available talent market should include:
In the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has already identified similar jobs for you in their Occupational Outlook Handbook. Since we’re looking at customer service representatives, we can go to that role’s page:
From here you’ll want to go to the “Similar Occupations” tab.
From these we can pick out those in similar pay brackets:
We should also include customer service representatives from other industries in our analysis. Clicking on the “Work Environment” tab yields other major industries that employ customer service representatives.
Including the two main subsections of financial service, banking and insurance, we get a available talent market that looks like this:
After establishing the available talent market, you need to look at the employment numbers and job outlook for each role in the market. Here we’ll focus on performing an analysis of the US market with publicly available data.
We can find the aggregate numbers for customer service representatives (or any other major job role) on the Employment by Detailed Occupation page from the BLS.
This page also displays the expected growth of each role over a 10 year period.
The BLS also provides details about a role’s employment and outlook by industry. To get this data, we need to go to the “Job Outlook” tab in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
We want to download the spreadsheet linked at the very bottom of this page.
In this spreadsheet, we can find the appropriate data for each type of customer support representative we’ve identified in our available talent market.
For the similar occupations in our available talent market, we can go to their respective pages in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
You can get even more granular by slicing up these similar occupations by industry (just like we did for the customer service role). For example, when we look at Financial Clerks, we see that 17% are employed in healthcare and social assistance.
National hiring trends often do not reflect trends at the state and local level. There are a couple resources you can use to dig into job roles by state and metropolitan area.
The first is in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Go to the role’s “State & Area Data” tab, and click the link with the job’s title.
On this page you can access a series of maps that provide employment and wage data by state or metropolitan area.
Minnesota employs 57,240 customer service representatives at an average annual wage of $39,300.
Most of these (44,270) are employed in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area at an average wage of $40,270. Careeronestop provides this information by state or city, as well as projected employment growth by state. For example, when we look at customer service representatives in Denver, CO, we see the median annual wage is around $36,500.
We can also see that customer service representative jobs are expected to grow in Colorado by 27% over 10 years.
This state and local data is particularly useful for designing competitive payment packages. It is also invaluable for identifying high-growth, high-competition areas that will need more attention.
Recruiting opportunities should become apparent as you look at the data. A key takeaway from the analysis should be which areas of the talent market to pursue and which to avoid.
You should pursue pockets of talent with low competition and high ROI. Talent pools that fit this requirement generally have one or both of these traits:
In the case of the customer service representative, bank tellers fit both of these criteria. Teller jobs are expected to decline by 8% over the next 10 years, and there are more than 500,000 tellers in the US. Armed with this data, you might:
You should also avoid pockets of talent with high competition and low ROI. This means avoiding jobs that have:
When you have this data on hand, it's also much easier to sell new recruiting initiatives. While you might just confirm your existing hunches, the data makes your case more convincing to skeptical stakeholders.