Hiring Strategies in a Tight Labor Market

HomeHiring Strategies in a Tight Labor Market

Hiring Strategies in a Tight Labor Market

The national unemployment rate is at an historic low  indicating a booming economy and ample employment opportunities. For those seeking a job, this is great news. Unfortunately for employers, low unemployment translates into a tight labor market making it increasingly difficult to find and hire workers for their open positions. According to the 2018 Employer Needs Study published by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, 50 percent of employers had difficulty filling at least one position they were hiring for in the past year.

In Charlotte, unemployment sits at 2.9 percent[1], a rate that is even lower than the national unemployment rate of 3.5 percent*. Numerically speaking, that means that there are roughly 17,900 people who are unemployed and looking for work in Mecklenburg County. Additionally, during the month of September, Charlotte-area employers posted 22,500 job openings[2]. This figure being higher than the number of unemployed people presents a fiercely competitive atmosphere among employers who are already struggling to find workers to fill their positions.

So how can employers reach these job-seekers and fulfill their talent needs? Charlotte Works has identified several strategies for employers to help them find the workers they are looking for:

  • Advertise Opportunities on a Variety of Channels

According to the N.C. Commerce Employer Needs Survey, 90 percent of employers are relying on word-of-mouth to fill their positions, while just 62 percent use internet job boards. Even fewer employers (44 percent) are utilizing social media. Failing to leverage social media channels means you are missing a large segment of young job-seekers; 88 percent of 18-29-year-olds use at least one form of social media[3]. Sites like Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and LinkedIn should be used to post jobs in complement to word-of-mouth and job board methods.

  • List Benefits and Perks of Jobs on the Job Posting

While many job-seekers are interested in compensation, they are also looking at what benefits employers can offer them. If your organization offers great health care and retirement benefits, list in detail what those benefits are in the job posting. If your organization offers non-traditional perks that will help employees offset the cost of living in Charlotte, such as parking, gym, childcare stipends or tuition reimbursement, list those benefits on the job posting. If you don’t currently offer benefits or perks, consider incorporating them in the future.

  • Consider Hiring from

In this tight labor market, major employers have sought employees from disconnected populations, or populations that have traditionally been disengaged or overlooked for employment opportunities. Fast food chains are beginning to hire senior citizens[4] to fill their open positions, while other employers are turning to hiring former offenders, many of whom already have job-ready skills. Federal and state governments often offer tax breaks for hiring from these populations; click here to find out about tax credits offered in North Carolina.

  • Have an application portal and job postings listed on your website

Most job-seekers are conducting job searches and applying for jobs online. In fact, 78 percent of millennials and 57 percent of baby boomers used their mobile devices for job searches in 2016[5]. If your job opportunities aren’t posted where job-seekers are looking, your applicant pool will be very limited. More importantly, if your organization doesn’t have a robust website with a career opportunities and applicant page, you will likely lose out on more applicants. Invest in your web presence and online advertising to make it easy for job-seekers to find you.

  • Utilize Services Offered by Local NCWorks Career Centers

oversees the two NCWorks Career Centers located in Mecklenburg County. These centers serve approximately 22,000 job-seekers annually either directly at the center or through our online NCWorks job portal. NCWorks online offers a free job postings board and a dedicated staff who will refer qualified candidates, host candidate screening and interviews for your organization, and even offer funding for on-the-job training and upskilling employees. Click here to learn more about how the NCWorks career centers can help find your next employees.

  • Reach Out to Community-Based Workforce Organizations

Charlotte Works is one of several workforce-focused organizations in Charlotte.  We partner with nonprofits such as Goodwill, Urban League, Charlotte Area Fund, Latin American Coalition, and others who work with job-seekers every day to ensure they have the skills necessary to meet employer demand. Reach out to representatives from any organization listed above for more information.


[1] North Carolina Department of Commerce, September 2018

[2] Burning Glass Technologies, Labor Insights, 2018

[3] Pew Research Center: Social Media Use in 2018

[4] Food & Wine: Fast Food Chains Hire More Senior Citizens to Flip Burgers, Work the Register, and Other Jobs, 2018

[5] Indeed: The Unstoppable Rise of Mobile Job Search: What Employers Need to Know, 2017

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