There’s a conventional wisdom holding that since the recession ended, employers would love to fill key, vacant positions but aren’t finding people with the right skills.

But according to two economists at the Chicago Fed, that’s pretty much balderdash. The real problem, say economists Jason Faberman and Bhash Mazumder, is that employers aren’t trying as hard to fill such posts as they did before the recession.

‘Recruitment intensity’
The economists base their conclusions on a measurement called “recruitment intensity.”

This is a gauge of how hard employers are trying to fill positions. It takes into account everything from how much is spent on advertising vacancies, how applicants are screened, how stringent job descriptions are, and what compensation is being offered.

From an index rate above 1.0 through most of the last decade, recruitment intensity dropped to near 0.7 in 2007-08, and has only recovered to about 0.85 now.

Don’t blame the market
What’s this mean for HR?

Simply that if you’re finding it tough to fill key positions, it’s probably a mistake to blame the job market. Instead, you may want to look at your recruiting efforts to see what you can do to cast a wider and more effective net.


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