Avoiding complacency: navigating hiring challenges in a slow economy

Avoiding complacency: navigating hiring challenges in a slow economy

The SECO (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs) predict that the Swiss economy will grow "well below average" in 2024. This follows a sluggish 2023 where even booming sectors like Big Tech, saw large job cuts. What does this mean for hiring new talent this year? A slow economy usually leads to more candidates on the job market. This might sound like a hiring manager’s dream; surely the right talent will inevitably come along? Wrong!

Being lulled into complacency during these times can be detrimental to the hiring process and in turn the success of the organisation. Here’s what to watch out for:


More talent but even more skills shortages

The skills shortage in Switzerland has increased by 24%. Despite economic headwinds, the latest Swiss Skills Shortage Index by the University of Zurich shows that demand for skilled workers continues to rise.


Quantity ≠More “right fit” talent for you

There’s an assumption that more talent on the open job market automatically means more talent for you to select from. In reality, most of these active job seekers will not fit your criteria. Even if the talent has the skills you’re seeking (not a given considering the skills shortages already mentioned) they may not align with your culture and values. To add to the pain, sifting through a larger pool of talent requires more effort and more time for your hiring manager and HR team to ensure the best hire is made.


The danger of snap judgments

When overwhelmed with an influx of applicants, it’s natural to make quick decisions and snap judgements. Inevitably great talent slips through the net and the“good but not quite right for us” talent slides through to the next stage.


Top talent is ALWAYS in demand

There is always fierce competition for top talent. Talent with in-demand skills will typically have multiple offers and will not wait around in long drawn-out hiring processes. This is particularly pertinent for senior roles. During the pandemic,many skilled workers from the Boomer generation stepped away from the workforce meaning businesses now have a smaller pool of younger workers to pick from. The Gen Z and millennial workforce hold a different viewpoint on work than the generations that came before them. Things like job hopping have become common with one in three 18-24-year-olds actively looking for new positions. This is only adding to the difficulty hiring for roles where a steady and experienced hand is needed.


Talent will be choosier about where they work

In uncertain times, people are more cautious about changing jobs. They’re more likely to stay where they are and will only entertain offers from great companies offering something truly different.


People have long memories

When faced with a large number of “open to work” talent, it’s tempting to push people en masse through the hoops of a process. Giving feedback, using engaging assessments and running quality interviews can all get pushed down the priority list, damaging your employer brand and making the future hiring of top talent more challenging.


In short, hiring in a slow economy isn't easy. The key lies in not succumbing to complacency or haste. Rather a strategic approach that values quality over quantity, recognises the constant demand for top talent, taps into passive talent pools and focuses on employer branding is crucial. It's more important than ever to balance what your company needs with what potential employees want, to make sure you hire the right people for long-term success.