October 2023 | JOLTS, jobs, and java: Our experts take on the latest labor reports

A 15-minute real-time discussion on the August JOLTS report, the September jobs report, and other hot topics in the talent space today.

October 2023 | JOLTS, jobs, and java: Our experts take on the latest labor reports

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Watch this 15 minute real-time discussion on the March JOLTS report, the April jobs report, and other hot topics in talent today.

Grab a coffee and join us for 15 minutes of real-time insights on the August JOLTS report, the September jobs report, and more with Jason Cerrato, our Senior Director of Product Marketing and special guest Colin Emerson, Strategic Account Executive.

Kali Figueroa 00:02
Thank you for tuning in to our October jobs talk with abled AI. We have a special guest joining us this month while our chief economist is on maternity leave, we are pleased to welcome Colin Emerson strategic account executive, alongside our Senior Director of Product Marketing, Jason Serato. Jason and Colin will share real time insights on the jolts report jobs report and more hot topics in talent today. So grab a coffee kick back and spend the next 20 or so minutes listening to what’s currently top of mind for business leaders. With that, I’ll hand it over to Jason Serato for some JOLTS jobs and java.

Jason Cerrato 00:38
Thanks, Kali. Here we are. We find ourselves again, it’s the first Friday of October. Believe it or not. There’s a slight chill in the air and maybe you have an apple cider doughnut. Nice Pumpkin Spice Latte. You’re getting in the mood for the fall season, but it’s also the first Friday of October which means here we are jolting jobs and Java talking about the jobs report. So happy to be joined by Colin, thank you so much for joining me, Colin. Is this how you thought you’d be spending your Friday morning?

Colin Emerson 01:09
No, not necessarily. I’m happy to be here. So thanks.

Jason Cerrato 01:13
We appreciate it. I love the conversations we have during the course of the week and we figured let’s get you on the let’s get you on the chat and get your thoughts on this. So here we are, you know a few minutes past the release of the jobs report this morning. Another very strong jobs report. Today’s report jobs rose by 336,000 jobs, with unemployment unchanged at 3.8%. blowing past a lot of the forecasts and predictions. So the job number continues to stay ahead of where people were predicting it to be. The estimates were somewhere between 170,220 1000 and here we find ourselves almost at 340,000. The biggest gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, government health care professional scientific and technical services and social assistance. So we also continue to see growth in specific sectors. Here we are in the industry. As we think about this, you know, we’ve always talked about there’s always some elements of good news mixed with some bad news and you have to kind of decipher what’s happening in the market. For purposes of this conversation, we’re always focused on what does this mean, for HR professionals and for the organizations that we’re supporting and the people that we’re talking to? I think one of the things that jumped out at me was there was a lot of conversation around even though the number of hires has increased and the market is looking good. A lot more scrutiny over job postings and job descriptions and people. You know, we’ve had this on previous coffee talks last month with Rebecca. We were talking about people really reevaluating their needs and reexamining the type of work that they’re hiring for and the roles that they’re hiring for. And I think we’re seeing that now. There was a lot of talk around fewer postings, but more applicants per posting, kind of what are your thoughts there? And are you seeing some of the same things and some of the people you’re talking to or what are your immediate reactions to that?

Colin Emerson 03:11
Yeah, Jason, I think it’s very interesting. The easiest way to think about it from what I’m hearing is, TA TA in particular ta professionals are finding that it’s more competitive in terms of candidates, the number of candidates applying for the jobs and thus the the candidate competition for the open roles that they have and then that’s very interesting because they are now thinking about how do they take what might be a larger candidate pool and find the most, you know, the best fit matches for the roles because they’re seeing more applications than they were before on a you know on a per per position basis, if you will, and I would also say I’d also say that that business leaders in particular, are driving a lot of these talent decisions because they are reevaluating their strategies as they’re thinking about what is the overall macroeconomic situation look like? You know, what does the impact of generative aI mean for what they need in their business strategy and thus what they need in terms of their talent to deliver whatever the goods or services their organization does. And so, that is a way of getting back to what you’ve said. There’s more scrutiny over the individual job postings because the business needs that are driving what organizations are looking for, from their talent are changing. And, you know, a big jobs report is exciting for some but as you mentioned, you know, almost double some of the estimates. It also means that there are potentially shifts and changes in the way that organizations are seeing what they know, what they need and what the future holds, you know, for them based on macroeconomic conditions.

Jason Cerrato 04:54
Yeah, you know, I was looking at our data and when I looked at our data, you know, we track hires across all of our customers kind of in our aggregated reports, and we look at it and on a weekly lens, week to week, hiring has been rather consistent for the for the for the most part of this year. So the hiring has been consistent. I think the postings, the evaluation, and the opportunities are changing. So what’s happening is we talk a lot about the four concepts of how people are addressing work these days with recruit, retain, redeploy, and re engineer. And I think we’re in the middle of people starting to get deeper in the water around that reengineer part, that equation, and truly starting to figure out, you know, what is the work that is in front of us to be done? What is the work that is in front of us to potentially automate, right, or, or get done through other means, and that’s where these openings that remain are getting very specific, or very specific skills for a very specific profile?

Colin Emerson 05:55
Yeah, no, and I agree with that. I mean, if you take not to make the whole conversation about generative AI, but if you take the shift that a lot of organizations are making in terms of how they think about infusing generative AI from a business perspective, that necessitates all kinds of talent decisions, like you said that you know, the four R’s, what you talked about are do they need do they need to, you know, build, borrow or buy new technical talent? Do they need to, to re-engineer the way that the way that work is done internally, which means that their internal employees who currently work for them need to be upskilled or retrained just to be able to interact? With new technologies, not because they have to build the technology, but because they’re going to interact with new generative AI technologies to get their jobs done. And so there are all kinds of elements there, I think to the reengineering point that you made that again, are driven by larger shifts. In what the businesses are trying to accomplish. And and that’s really, you know, what, what I focus a lot on with, you know, with with the business leaders that I work with is what are the business needs the business strategy, what you know, your five year plan, and how does that dictate what you’re doing what you’re doing with your talent and frankly, do you do you know, what you have now, based on what you say you’re going to need 135 years from now. And you know, it gets to all of the ideas of recruit, you know, recruit, retain, redeploy, re engineer, I mean, all of those are elements of trying to realize that talent strategy, right, assuming you have one tied to your business business.

Jason Cerrato 07:33
Yeah. Let me throw out the four R’s. You mentioned the three B’s there’s even a fourth being built by borrower Bob. So whichever you prefer the four R’s are now the four B’s you know, this is what’s top of mind for people that are trying to steer the organization towards the future. I also think, you know, with anything, there’s a lot of mixed messaging the same way we’re saying that there’s fewer positions and more applicants. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week that discussed people being more reluctant to switch jobs. What do you do? How do you wrap your head around that one?

Colin Emerson 08:10
Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s it. It’s one of those things right. That creates cognitive dissonance. When you think about it, right. You say oh, there are so many job openings out there. I think the exact number is 1.5 jobs for every unemployed person. Individuals right now, I think that’s the statistic. And yet, to your point, people are more reluctant to switch. I think there’s several reasons for that. And this is coming from both a candidate perspective as well as I’m what I’m hearing from talent leaders. One, I mean, in many industries, tech in particular, right. There were layoffs over the last Yeah, let’s say 18 months and so people are people who have a job that they feel somewhat secure in are are more reluctant to jump ship, if you will, because of the you know what they’ve seen what they’ve seen from a layoff perspective would also say that a again going back to the macroeconomic situation people are people are risky bets right now, because they’re not sure where the economy is going and how that might impact initial reactions to the idea of why are people more reluctant now and talent leaders frankly, they feel the same way from what they’re hearing from their internal employees, internal employees. are looking for more internal ability.

Jason Cerrato 09:39
Colin, you mentioned internally Yeah, you make an internal mobility ship. Colin, you mentioned you mentioned internal mobility I think one of the interesting things that I heard from a talent leader earlier this week was for everything that they’re trying to do all Roadstar internal first, and they’re trying to maximize their existing their existing talent and their existing employees to understand how they can be applied to whatever the next needs are. And I think as much as that sounds like that, as much as that sounds like common sense. Historically, you know, our instinct and our muscles were always external. Let’s get out of a req. Let’s go hire. Who else can we find rather than who do we have? Right? So I think one of the things that’s definitely happening is as people get more data and get more insight and get greater understanding of concepts, like skills and work, they’re looking at, who do they have on their team? What are they capable of doing? And what are the things that they need to get done? And some people are starting to realize if I have 10 people operating at 80% of capacity, or I’m only utilizing 80% of their skills. I don’t have 10 people. I have eight. Yeah, right. And one of the things that we’re talking about a lot of these jobs reports or the comparison of applicants to openings or hires to availability is that a lot of that has been done through the lens of a one to one relationship of people to jobs. Yeah, and I think what we’re starting to get down to is a level below that of actually looking at the relationship of skills to work, and that’s one of the many, many to many comparisons and starts to look and feel very different. I think you’ve been having some conversations along those lines, too.

Colin Emerson 11:28
Absolutely. I mean, you know, what I’m hearing from talent leaders is framed as a skill supply and demand challenge. So you know that if they know what they are trying to deliver, what are the tasks that need to be done in order to make what they need to make or deliver the services that they need to deliver? What are the skills that are needed to actually make that happen? And so then the supply the demand for skills is what do they need and what is the market dictating and then the supply is what you know, what do they have and they’re really trying to create a match for that as opposed to do I have, if I have 1000 jobs to do to do the work? Do I have 1000 people or do I have 1000 people, right? And that goes to your point of, you know, 80% of capacity, where there’s excess where there’s excess skill capacity. Talent leaders now are starting to think at least the ones that are more forward ones that I’m thinking or that I’m talking to, they’re starting to think about how do they take that extra 20% capacity and deploy that in ways that can drive revenue increase, you know, increase employee engagement, or you know, improve organizational culture. If that has, you know, a benefit in terms of retention in terms of, you know, the ability to drive revenue because you keep people that you have a very interesting way of thinking about, that was not the case five years ago.

Jason Cerrato 12:49
Yeah, I’ve always worked in environments that were very lean. And especially working in HR when you’re an SG and a function, and you’re often categorized on the ledger as overhead, right? Not only were they lean, they were always being asked to get leaner. One of the things I’ve always said is if you gave me 20 People that were highly skilled, I’ll take on a Department of 50. Yeah, of people that, you know, aren’t as skilled or aren’t being utilized to their full capability. And I think that’s a lot of the reality of the world that people are living in today. But now we’re actually getting more granular to understand what are the skills that are needed? And what are the skills that people possess to start to actually do some of that analysis? Yeah, well, and

Colin Emerson 13:31
I’m, I mean, I give you a simple example. I think that the way a lot of the conversations I’m having if you go from the from the talent leader perspective, or we’re talking about skills, supply and demand, if you go down to, to the recruiter perspective, like you know where the rubber hits the road, many of them are starting to think much more deeply about the job descriptions that they write and putting they put their putting less fluff around, you know, describe the narrative descriptions and more about what the skills they need are so that individuals who are looking at those jobs can think about a match to the skill, you know, do I have this skill can I learn this you know, quickly, as opposed to do I like the first three paragraphs of this job posting? And can I interpret whether I’m a fit for it or not? And so I think that’s a tangible example of where you’re starting to see skills. We know skills are the currency of talent, but where are you really starting to see it? In a you know, in a more tangible way, where the rubber hits the road?

Jason Cerrato 14:25
In my former life, I was an industry analyst and two of my favorite pieces of research were done while I was working in that world. We examined all job postings across a fortune 1000 companies over a three year period and we looked at them both in North America and then Europe. And when they analyzed all of the job postings from that audience for those three year periods, they boiled down their total volume of job postings to discover that almost 50% of that volume was looking for the same 36 roles. Right so So number one, everyone was going after the same similar talent. Yeah. So all the reason why you need to start discovering new ways to identify who’s capable of doing that work and generating additional audience. But the other part of it was over that three year period we saw that year over year there was a 30% increase in the number of skills being listed on job descriptions, but at the same time, the increase of skills that were being incorporated were also many historical skills that won’t be need that wouldn’t be needed in more than two or three years. So to use one of my favorite movie quotes, I always say I’m a Gen X er, so I speak in movie quotes. For the folks out there working on those job descriptions you must choose but choose wisely.

Colin Emerson 15:44
Or, or one of my favorite movie quotes of course, with great power comes great responsibility, right?

Jason Cerrato 15:51
Absolutely. Absolutely. So with that, I think it’s been so wonderful to have you on our little coffee talk and Jolson jobs in Java. Thank you so much for joining us. It’s been a pleasure. I really enjoyed this conversation and the good news and bad news of that is we’ll probably have you back.

Colin Emerson 16:08
I’d love to be back. Thank you again for including me. Jason always enjoyed the dialogue.

Jason Cerrato 16:13
Thank you so much, Colin, back to UK!

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