Measuring your rolling talent deficit (part 2)

In my last post about the rolling talent deficit, I talked about the problem of having unfilled positions month after month. After a while, this cycle takes its toll on an organization and can lead to an almost insurmountable backlog of unfilled jobs. How do you know if you're running in a talent deficit? Below is an easy method for determining your level of deficit today and the rolling effect it will have in the future.

First start with the timeframe -- I'm setting it initially at two months. You could use three months or quarterly, but I wouldn't push it out any further. For most professional-level positions, especially in high-demand areas, the timeframe directly impacts your ability to find the best talent.

Next comes the number of jobs you have open during a two-month period. This is, simply, the total number of jobs that were opened during a two-month period.

Finally, find out the number of jobs that were filled in the same two-month period and subtract if from the total number of jobs opened. This leaves you with a rough calculation of the number of unfilled jobs you have during the time period.

Here's the simplified calculation:

Total Jobs Opened - Total Jobs Filled = Total Unfilled Jobs (Deficit)

While this won't always be the same each month, it's a good indication of your talent deficit. If you want to get an average, do the same calculation for three sets of two-month periods and average the results.

Here's the important part. Take a look at the number of unfilled jobs in this time period and imagine how those jobs compound each two-month period. For example, let's say you have 25 open positions and are able to fill 15 of them. That leaves you with 10 unfilled positions.

The following period, if you continue the same trend of 25 jobs openings, in reality, you will now have 35 openings. And if you bring to bear the same recruiting resources on these openings, you will likely only fill 21 of these jobs (60 percent), and now you will have 14 unfilled jobs remaining.

And keep in mind that those leftover 10 jobs will be harder to fill the longer they are open, and many of the 14 jobs might not get filled after four months.

The next period you will have 39 jobs to fill, and will likely end up with 16 or more unfilled jobs at the end of a six-month period, an increase of more than 60 percent.

Notice that I didn't say to look at just the positions that take longer than two months to fill. While this is a good indicator, if your positions generally take longer to fill, you should still be filling jobs on a regular basis, even ones that are open for an extended period of time.

The importance of knowing your talent deficit directly impacts your planning and management of recruiting resources. What if your hiring picks up? With a talent deficit, you are loading another 40-60 percent on your recruiters in addition to the hiring increase. How are you planning for that?

Next up, I'll talk about the impact a talent deficit has on your employment brand and recruiting efforts.

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