The decade closed on a high note for the U.S. economy — capping off 11 years of consecutive job growth with the creation of more than 2.1 million jobs in 2019. In fact, employers added a solid 145,000 workers in December, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at a record-low of 3.5%.
Economists expect the pace to continue its cool down in 2020, projecting an average fall of 25,000 jobs created per month, according to The New York Times. Wage growth is also an area of concern, as the average increase within the last 12 months was just 2.9% compared to 2018’s average of 3.3%.
But for job seekers, 2020 is rife with opportunity. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate for college-degreed workers tumbled well below the national average last month to a mere 1.9% — illustrating the continued value of skilled and credentialed workers in a candidate-driven labor market.
December 2019 Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
CENTURY GROUP’S FORECAST
Top hiring trends haven’t changed much in the past few years, highlighting the fierce competition for workers in a tight labor market. And for employers, perfecting the candidate experience is everything. From offering competitive salaries to engaging candidates with a strong sense of your company’s brand and culture, buying into these key areas will encourage professionals to buy into you.
“In a world of increasing transparency and corporate accountability, a strong company culture is no longer a nice-to-have — it’s a business imperative,” explains Glassdoor. “For one, company culture has a significant impact on a company’s ability to recruit and retain top talent.”
The looming recession also has employers preparing for candidate pools to widen, but maybe not with the caliber of skill they’re used to. Loosening job requirements and hiring for potential is a mantra companies should embrace. Seek candidates that exhibit soft skills like adaptability, willingness to learn and problem solving experience — these abilities will be key to your business’ future success.
Look out for the 2020 Salary Guide for more hiring trends and comprehensive salary data to help you attract accounting and finance professionals in your area.
Sure, job seekers hold more of the power in today’s hiring dynamic. But a slowing economy and the allure of a new year makes competing against your colleagues challenging, even for the most qualified applicants. Streamline your resume to include key words the job description asks for and tailor your cover letter to the specific role. Be sure to highlight your software skills and quantify how you’ve added value in your previous positions.
It’s also imperative to look beyond traditional job search sites when finding the right career move for you. The start of the year brings many networking events to get on your calendar, and don’t be afraid to reach out to former colleagues or LinkedIn connections to ask for references or leads. For those looking for a speedier, more specialized search, partner with a staffing and recruiting firm to find roles not listed on job boards or that meet your specific criteria.