Getty Images

Hiring remains competitive, despite cooling labor market

The labor market is seeing fewer quit rates than during the COVID-19 pandemic peak. The Conference Board's survey reveals a decline in hiring expectations among CHROs.

At the start of the Labor Day holiday, the days of record-high quit rates may be gone, but not the competition for critical skills.

Overall, the pace of hiring is cooling, according to a survey by The Conference Board released Wednesday. It surveyed 112 CHROs, with 38% expecting to increase hiring in the next several months, but that's down from 51% in the second quarter of 2023. 

Employees may be more cautious about jumping to another job in this labor market. According to government data released this week, employees are quitting less now than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the quit rate was 2.3% last month, or about 3.5 million workers. That's compared with its record 3.0% quit rate, or 4.5 million people, first set in November 2021, a period that came to be known as the Great Resignation.

Despite some of the data, Jamie Kohn, senior research director in Gartner's HR practice, said the labor market "is going to remain competitive for a long time."

Long-term problem

"We face a long-term skills shortage right now," Kohn said.

The working-age population is declining in many countries, she noted. Indeed, fertility rates in the U.S. remain below what is required for a generation to replace itself in the absence of immigration, the Congressional Budget Office recently reported.

What's shaping recruiting today is the low supply of critical talent.
Jamie KohnSenior research director, Gartner HR practice

In a recent global survey of 3,500 job candidates, Gartner found that 73% of survey takers reported they had multiple offers. Nearly 40% of respondents worked in HR or IT; others came from executive management, finance and accounting, administration and clerical and sales.

"What's shaping recruiting today is the low supply of critical talent," Kohn said. "Even if demand drops, companies will still be competing for a very small pool of qualified candidates."

To fill openings in this labor market, Kohn said employers are expanding their sourcing strategies, considering hiring people with skills adjacent to the ones they need, looking outside their industries for workers and reconsidering hiring requirements such as four-year degrees.

Employers are also "working much more closely with talent management and learning and development to build robust internal mobility and upskilling programs," she said.

Patrick Thibodeau covers HCM and ERP technologies for TechTarget Editorial. He's worked for more than two decades as an enterprise IT reporter. 

Dig Deeper on Talent management

Business Analytics
Content Management
and ESG