Employers Find That Time-to-Fill Job Rates Are Growing, Hit 13 Year High

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Aug 14, 2014

The time to fill open positions has reached a national average of just about 25 days, the lengthiest job vacancy period in the 13 years covered by the DICE–time to fill by industry DFH Vacancy Duration Measure.

The monthly report on time to fill and recruiting efforts says that on average it took 24.9 working days (Monday-Saturday) in June to post, source, and hire a new employee. That’s more than nine days longer than it took at the height of the recession in July 2009. Then, the average was 15.3 working days.

The lengthening time to fill is having a serious impact on search firms. Data from MRINetwork says growing numbers of candidates are taking alternative offers while clients make up their mind.

As a consequence, 81 percent of MRI recruiters in a recent survey, say the labor market today is being driven by candidates.

Voluntary “quits” are also rising

The vacancy duration report produced by careers sites publisher Dice Holdings Inc. follows a report Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Labor on job openings and turnover. The report showed there were more job openings in the country — 4.7 million as of the last day of June — than at any time since February 2001. In June 2013, there were 4 million openings.

time-to-fill-by-industryIn addition, the report said 2.7 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in June, many of them to take another one. That compares to 2.4 million the year before.

Over the previous 12 months, the report said businesses reported a total of 55.7 million hires. Separations — voluntary or otherwise — came to 53.3 million for a net gain of 2.4 million jobs.

An increase in the labor force, and individuals working more than one job, took up some of those positions. The numbers, though, suggest that more jobs are staying open longer and some are simply going unfilled.

“A relative shortage of U.S. workers with STEM skills”

That’s among the explanations for the growing delay in filling jobs shown by the Dice job vacancy report. The Wall Street Journal said its survey of small business owners found a third of them unable to find workers with the skills they need.

Last month, The Brookings Institution released an in-depth study of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) job vacancies, finding, “The median duration of advertising for a STEM vacancy is more than twice as long as for a non-STEM vacancy.” Advertising a STEM job requiring a professional degree averages 50 days, compared to 33 days for a non-STEM position.

Concludes the report, “The principle finding is that there is a relative shortage of U.S. workers with STEM skills. In other words, STEM skills are in high demand relative to supply, and the problem is especially acute in certain metropolitan areas, where the average vacancy for STEM workers takes months to fill.”

Average-Days-to-FillThere is also the so-called perfect candidate hypothesis as promulgated by Peter Cappelli, professor of management and Director of the Center for Human Resources at Wharton. In his article he argues that hiring managers and companies are both too choosy and unwilling to invest in training.

Largest companies taking 58 days to fill

Regardless of what’s behind the lengthening time to fill, the Dice analysis shows that some industries have vacancy durations far above average. No surprise that the information sector, which includes the challenging tech industry, takes 38.9 days to fill a job. It’s the longest among the sectors covered in the report.

Government takes 36.7 days from opening to offer acceptance. Manufacturing jobs stay vacant now more than twice as long as they did in 2009, taking an average of 29.2 days to fill.

The hiring delay is longest at the nation’s largest companies. Those with 5,000 or more employees take 58.1 working days to fill a job.

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