Everywhere the complaints are big: "The shortage of skilled workers!" Or: "We can't find any employees!" And, "When people apply, they are too poorly qualified. They simply can't do anything." This is often accompanied by a reference to the past: "In the past, we still learned something in school, in training, in studies, not just such superficial knowledge, as is happening everywhere today."

Okay, granted: That was polemical. Of course, I don't hear that from all companies. And of course there are many companies that have nothing to complain about. Either because they are operating in a field where there are enough skilled workers: Agencies, for example. Or publishing houses. Or because they are so well known as companies through their brands that many applicants want to go there without even asking themselves whether this company is a good fit for them. In Germany, for example, these include Siemens, Porsche or - also - the police (source: Trendence study on the most popular employers for students, 2018/2019). The fact that they are more likely to face the challenge of selecting the right people from the abundance of applications that flutter into the (virtual) mailbox is the other side of the coin.

Particularly sought after: technicians

If we take a look at the figures, the following picture emerges: The Federal Employment Agency, with its Fact check regularly publishes the necessary figures. These indicate, for example, that there are between two and four applicants nationwide for every job advertisement for mechanical engineers.

If we look at regional differences, we see that the market in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria looks even different: Here, there are only 1.4 (Bavaria) and 2.3 (Baden-Württemberg) potential applicants per job. Electrical engineers are in high demand nationwide; here, there is usually a purely mathematical tie between vacancies and job seekers. The same is true for technicians, by the way. There is a huge demand for them nationwide.

So far, so frustrating.

On the other hand, of course there are people out there looking for a new job. And these are only those who are officially registered as looking for work: In addition, there is also the market of those who are looking covertly and those who don't even know they are looking yet.

Full speed ahead towards applicants?

Job interviewAnd this is where my question marks come in: Why aren't companies doing everything they can to find, woo, and retain the skilled workers who are out there looking, overtly or covertly?

Want an example? I have brought you three possibilities for optimization:

  • Website optimization: At this point, what applicants want and what companies do go way past each other. Applicants don't want to fill out a new application form with every employer. They want to send their documents either by mail or by One-Click Application transmit how the Candidate Journey Study 2017 from Jobs.com and metaHR points out. Applicants, by the way, also want to find contact options on the career website and a contact person - and perhaps gain a deeper insight into the company than just the description "We are a great, ambitious team".
  • Design of job advertisements: When companies change their perspective and look at their own job ads, they should honestly ask themselves the question: "Would I like to apply for this job?" In the job portals, their own ads are competing with hundreds of companies with similar job profiles. It doesn't have to be a pink glitter unicorn, but simply using "Project manager (m/f) realization warehouse and materials handling technology" instead of "Project manager (m/f)" can already ensure more suitable interested parties. And in addition to the online presence: A critical look at your own ad in competition with dozens of others on a university bulletin board quickly provides clarity. Hand on heart - who then still likes to stick to the cheerful gray?
  • Presence on employer review platforms: Slowly, the realization is catching on: Employer rating portals like kununu.com and glassdoor.com no longer go away. And applicants use these platforms to find out more. The fact that an employee is dissatisfied cannot be prevented. But not ensuring that there is only one profile there and that bad reviews are answered individually and personally is in the hands of every company. And what should not be forgotten, of course: Critical assessments also show potential for improvement that companies should take advantage of.

Skilled workers are out there. You just have to find them!

The other day, I experienced at first hand that it can be done quite differently with a customer from Munich. When the conversation turned to his web developers, he just laughed and said: "Web developers here in Munich? Forget it! I could never pay them, and I wouldn't stand a chance against Google and the other big employers anyway." Instead, he went to the places where there are skilled workers but hardly any work - and that's how he found his new employees. Of course, they don't work in his office every day, but that shouldn't be a problem anymore.

Just as, by the way, it should no longer be a problem when people have children or want to take care of their parents. Far too many employers still afford not to let women return to their jobs properly after starting a family. Instead, they are put on the sidelines.

As long as companies can afford to do this, the shortage of skilled workers has not really sunk in. Therefore, my appeal to you: Be smarter than your competitors and make employee recruitment and retention a matter for the boss!

We would be happy to bring our many years of experience to bear for you. We advise you on your recruiting strategy and recruiting processes and support you in finding your employees.