Newsletter October 2022
Recruiters for the Copier Channel® for more than 30 years, Copier Careers® has been the only recruiting firm exclusively dedicated to connecting Copier Channel employers with experienced service technicians, copier sales representatives, sales managers, service & operations managers, controllers, support staff, and MPS/MNS experts. Start your month off right with Newsletter October 2022: Copier Channel news and career advice. Search copier jobs now.
Employers across the US are seeing are seeing an increase of “unretired” workers. These quietly returning professionals could be a stopgap for an industry desperately short on personnel.
Whether they were furloughed, laid off, offered early retirement or simply quit, many senior industry professionals opted to retire in 2020 and 2021. The common refrain we heard at the time was, “I saw this company through 9/11, through the Great Recession, through all the recent technological innovations – I’m just not up for yet another disruption. Let the next generation give it a go.”
Why are so many coming back now?
Inflation’s affect on savings is the first motivator to comes to mind but that may not be the complete picture. Joblist’s 2022 Job Market Report included an, admittedly, small survey of roughly 500 “retired” job seekers. They found that only 27% said they were returning to work out of financial concerns (21% citing inflation and 5% the stock market).
Most of the unretirees (60%) said they were “looking for something to do.” Moreover, the surveyed group had an exceedingly positive outlook: 52% said they were “happy” to return and 42% said they were “excited.” Only 20% said they were “nervous” while 5% chose “stressed” and 4% “frustrated.”
Is this good news for employers?
Possibly. Our industry, like many others, lost tribal knowledge when so many senior employees left in 2020. According to Joblist, the pandemic caused more than “two million premature retirements” in the US. This returning wave could offer companies a second chance to retain that valuable know-how by partnering the unretired with less experienced coworkers.
Certainly adding candidates back into the job market will relieve some of the pressure for straining hiring managers. Joblist CEO, Kevin Harrington, commented to Forbes senior contributor, Joseph Coughlin: “Could be good news for employers. Retirees are an overlooked talent pool that companies can and should engage in order to combat labor shortages.” But the survey also brings up some complicating factors for employers to consider.
- Schedules. 79% of respondents said they were only looking to come back part-time. Only 6% said they were on-board for full-time work again while 16% said they were open to either. This preference for more flexible schedules makes sense but could challenge management in setting responsibilities, territories, schedules and compensation.
- Rusty. Many professionals saw this when furloughed workers returned in 2020-21. When you haven’t been working for a few years, it will doubtlessly be difficult to get back into the swing of things. Companies will need to plan for this in their training and on-boarding process.
- Age discrimination. It shouldn’t happen but it does happen. Coughlin brought up concerns affecting older jobseekers: “How do you write a resume with several decades of varied experience? How to prepare for an interview with someone your child’s or even grandchild’s age?” He is optimistic, however, hailing the unretired as “pioneers” who are “inventing something that is neither our current idea of retirement or of work. They are quietly creating something else — a new life stage altogether that sees the retirement age of today as a mile marker, not an exit.”
- Long-term solutions. Bringing back the unretired is a potentially beneficial stop-gap but it isn’t a long-term solution. 51% of the unretired say they want to stay at least three more years, 14% one to two years, 2% for less than a year while the remaining 33% are unsure. The generational change cannot be stopped, only delayed. This opportunity calls for a two-pronged approach: Employers who bring on senior professionals and continue hiring and training the next generation will set themselves up for success.
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Reuters reports the number of unemployment benefits claims fell to a five-month low at the end of September 2022. The report analysis confirms what we’re seeing: “most employers are hoarding labor after experiencing hiring difficulties in the past year.”
No one wants to risk personnel gaps that could take months to fill. According to senior economic advisor at Brean Capital, Conrad DeQuadros, “the message here is still a historically tight labor market, with companies holding on to workers.”
Last month we discussed tips for better managing the human element of your hiring supply chain. So we were curious to hear whether your company was managing or neglecting their own hiring supply. We had a solid turnout of 19,256 votes this month!
Nearly half said their employers had hiring supply chain problems with, “we’re stretched thin with no end in sight” taking 44% of the vote. The other two quarters were split between “somewhat, we’re making some hires” and “we have staff but we’re in trouble if someone quits.” The remaining votes went to “there’s a bottleneck somewhere” (5%) and “we only hire on a fluke” (>1%) with “yes, we have staff and a back bench” only taking 1% of the vote. That’s 99% of voters saying their company doesn’t have any kind of backbench!
This lines up with what we’re seeing. Industry employers have been running lean for years. It’s been going on for so long that folks think it’s “normal.” This mindset is alarming.
If your company doesn’t have a backbench of skilled personnel, you should be concerned! Because that tells you they don’t have a plan for the human element of their workforce. People are not machines – they do not all work all the time. A commenter on a past poll put it best:
“My observation as a technician has been that employers almost always staff at a level which assumes everyone is available. But the fact is, you will always have one or more people out for training, vacation, illness etc. So the team is always running behind. I’m sure there are some companies that have a floater tech or two to cover those predictable gaps in coverage, but I’ve not worked for one.”
If this sounds like your company, you need to ask yourself what happens when someone is sick or leaves? How much harder would your job become? What opportunities would be missed? How much money would be left on the table? How long before someone else leaves? And another and another?
No one knows better than recruiters that employees can and will leave all the time. Companies can’t afford to keep pretending that it won’t happen to them.
- No, we’re stretched thin with no end in sight! (44%, 8,484 Votes)
- Somewhat, we’re making some hires (25%, 4,896 Votes)
- Yes, we have staff but we’re in trouble if someone quits (25%, 4,789 Votes)
- Somewhat but there’s a bottleneck somewhere (5%, 960 Votes)
- Yes, we have staff and a back bench! (1%, 115 Votes)
- Not really, we only hire on a fluke (0%, 12 Votes)
Total Voters: 19,256 (September 2, 2022 @ 6:46 pm – September 30, 2022 @ 8:30 pm)
Some comments from y’all:
- “Most of the techs that we have interviewed are currently employed and are either under paid or over worked. If you offer a higher pay rate and counter their present employers counter (which happens almost every time) a tech will jump ship. After all, they were looking for a change in the 1st place.”
- “If the local convenience store is paying $21.50 to work graveyard weekends, good luck finding skilled labor to work for $18.50 an hour.”
- “Same old, same old. Companies need talented and qualified techs, but compensation / benefits simply aren’t competitive. Copier techs are skilled workers, yet I can find dozens of positions paying more for UNKSILLED work. Heck, the gig work I do on the side delivering groceries gets me within $5 of my current hourly salary! Many techs I know are instead taking phone support positions. There are too many other options in the Post-COVID workplace now to remain tethered to an underpaid job.”
- “We’re a growing company, mostly through acquisitions, and we rely on those people we pick up from acquisitions to fill open spots but we’re finding the employees at smaller dealerships just can’t change and keep up with a fast-paced environment. We spend a lot of energy trying to train people we had high hopes for that end up not working out.”
- “We have the people and means to source very viable candidates, but hiring freezes can stop that process real quick.”
- Definitely, as soon as I can! (28%, 1,740 Votes)
- I’m on-track to retire in my late 60s (26%, 1,620 Votes)
- Hopefully but I’m behind on my goals (16%, 1,012 Votes)
- I retired but am working again (16%, 1,012 Votes)
- I’m already retired (8%, 486 Votes)
- Retire? Ha! (5%, 283 Votes)
Total Voters: 6,153 (September 29, 2022 @ 1:32 am – November 2, 2022 @ 7:54 pm)
Comment on Poll:
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