Understanding the job market can be a daunting task. We hear stories of The Great Resignation continuing while seeing layoffs in Big Tech, real estate, banking, etc. How do we make sense of this? We sat down with Sara Causey, a Staffing & Recruiting SME and the owner of Causey Consulting LLC, to solve this riddle.
You’re something of a Sherlock Holmes for the job market. How did that come about?
That’s such a cool way of putting it! (laughs) I read the messages propagated in the news and on social media and thought, “Some of these assertions make no sense.” There was a true disconnect between what I saw on a daily basis in the job market versus what we were being told. There are times in life when you look around and realize, “It shouldn’t have to be me who does this work, but I’ll do it.” So I became passionate about ensuring that what I was seeing in the job market in real-time was going out both in my written work and on my podcast.
The Great Resignation received a lot of attention. Is it still relevant?
Yes, it is. The fact that it is still relevant does not mean, however, that it is still actively occurring. 2023 is not 2021 and we have to be honest about that. The FOMO and the YOLO that permeated the housing market and made realtors and brokers quite wealthy also happened in the job market. A lot of employees felt comfortable changing jobs and there’s not a stigma around job hopping the way there used to be. I remember job hunting in the 90s and the whole idea of leaving a job quickly was viewed as a cardinal sin. Times have changed! People reevaluated their schedules and their priorities during the lockdowns and the notion of sitting on a train or in a car and enduring a long commute, and then sitting in a cubicle with a boss staring you down all day was debunked. The emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes and most folks were tired of pretending otherwise. For so long, the balance of power rested with companies and hiring managers, not with job seekers and employees. Given some of the bad behavior I’ve seen over the years, it’s not a wonder there was a Great Resignation. It needed to happen, quite frankly.
What’s happening now, from your perspective?
I think we’re in a transitional phase. We have some of the past and some of the present in a weird collision with each other. I believe in the US we’re already in a recession and many employees are getting conservative. In 2021, it was not difficult to get someone on the phone or engaged via email to talk about a job opportunity. Now? Totally different circumstances. Contrary to the media messaging, I am NOT seeing people hippity hopping all over the job market and taking a cavalier attitude. A job change has to be more carefully weighed and measured. If someone is in a remote role and a recruiter is calling them to pitch a full RTO position—forget about it.
You have a book titled Hiring After the Great Resignation. What do you think that looks like?
If we see something like The Great Recession / Global Financial Crisis, which I hope and pray we don’t, I think Corporate America will hold all the cards. I know that’s not a fun, sexy perspective. Most of the HR and staffing talking heads on social media don’t want to say that, but I will. We can’t get naïve and assume this recession won’t get too hairy because it certainly could. If you pay attention to what the Wall Street fat cats and hedge fund managers say behind closed doors, they aren’t feeling super
optimistic about things. There was a leaked memo from BoA that appeared on The Intercept last summer talking about how they hoped conditions would get worse so that corporations would be in the power position again. From a hiring perspective, decent companies should not sit back and actively hope for a recession with the belief that an unemployed throng of people will be knocking their doors down. I also believe that it’s important to both understand and audit the hiring process. Do you expect too many interviews? Do you have pre-employment checks that you don’t need? Are you asking candidates to take five different personality profiles as a way of gatekeeping? Even in a downturn, companies that possess a humane hiring process that doesn’t waste time or ask for ridiculous nonsense will be at an advantage.
For more HR and hiring insights, you can visit Sara at https://causeyconsultingllc.com/.