RALEIGH – The talent market is “weird” right now.
That’s according to Todd Olson, the co-founder and CEO of Pendo, who delivered a presentation on the state of the labor market in Raleigh at the Launch 2022 event held in downtown Raleigh on Jan. 4. The company planned to hire 400 employees in 2021, WRAL TechWire previously reported, and Olson noted that the company continues to compete for talent locally and globally.
“Talent is top of mind for everyone right now,” said Olson. “It’s a weird job market right now, you think about the last few years where we’ve gone from when the pandemic hits going to record unemployment to very rapid overemployment, so to speak, where there are so many jobs available, but no workers, and it feels very, very hard to hire in this market.”
For employers, said Olson, the labor market actually got worse following the onset of the global pandemic. That’s because almost everyone seems to be considering leaving their job. Olson said that 1 in 4 workers left a job in 2021, and 23% of current workers expect to quit in 2022.
In fact, in November 2021, a record 4.5 million workers resigned willingly from their roles, WRAL TechWire reported this week.
So what’s happening in the labor market? It’s both a hyper local labor market, and companies must act locally, said Olson, but in a greater framework that the labor market is also a global one.
“We have to compete with Apple and Google, day in and day out, and another factor is that we have employees leaving local jobs for remote jobs,” said Olson. “The reality is that a lot of young people, and really, a lot of all people, want the flexibility of working remotely.”
Olson noted that his company intentionally sought to develop a strong company culture, bolstered by differentiated benefits, and an investment in the employee experience, both at existing office and the company’s soon-to-open new headquarters location in downtown Raleigh.
“How we’ve shifted our focus to think differently around talent,” said Olson. “You have to make sure you set yourself apart, you have to make sure you differentiate, because the reality is that there are a bunch of jobs that may go unfilled because you can’t find the talent to fill them.”
“There aren’t enough people to do the things that we have to do to keep our economy moving,” said Olson. So if businesses are seeking to attract and retain talent, they must focus on their culture, meet potential employees where they are, and invest in the human capital to support those efforts.
“When asked from our investors about what is the best part of our community,” Olson said that he replies that there are 65,000 annual graduates from colleges and universities in the Triangle.
“Problem is finding those humans, and attracting them to want to work for you,” said Olson. “You have to go to them, you can’t expect them to find you and go to your website to apply.”
“We’re too lazy here to actually go to them and grab them,” said Olson. “We have full time university recruiting staff, that’s the only thing they do,” “And it’s not just the big ones, it’s HBCUs, and other colleges where we can attract great and diverse talent.”
“Students aren’t going to do the work, especially when they can walk into the union and see Google,” said Olson. “They have options elsewhere, and they’ll be willing to move them or let them work wherever they want in the world.”