With market confidence seemingly having returned to the economy, we caught up with Morgan Philips Associate Director USA, Sofia Gonzalez, to get her take on the current state of the jobs and recruitment market in the US.
With over 900,000 jobs created in March according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) numbers, it would appear that the US economy is recovering as the pandemic situation improves. “Things are definitely looking better but there are however still almost seven million unemployed, which is 6% of the population. It would be somewhat premature to say that we’ve turned a corner. Although it does depend on industry sector, organisations are typically adding specific roles and looking for the specialist skills they need in the short term rather than planning for growth,” says Gonzalez.
The Biotech sector, in which the US leads the world and is estimated to reach $1tr by 2021, has been one of the top performing sectors in the country. “Both start-ups and scale-ups are looking for AI and analytics expertise to interpret the huge volumes of data. Gene sequencing, gene editing technologies, precision medicine and synthetic biology are sought after skills. But we’re also seeing a demand for project managers and sales strategists within the sector to generate business,” notes Gonzalez.
The same positive movement is being seen in other sectors too, especially consumer goods. “Yes, we have seen a pickup from where we were in 2020, particularly for CPG or FMCG companies who have had to shift their strategies from B2B to B2C as everyone is buying online. So e-commerce has taken off and with it the demand for sales and marketing executives who can drive sales and product line strategy.”
President Biden’s infrastructure investment plan includes a $300bn injection to kickstart the country’s ailing manufacturing industry. “US manufacturing growth has been trending upward along with growing capital spending and rising capacity utilisation, reflecting a sustained demand for products ranging from electronics to paper products. An industry where we haven’t seen an uptick in hiring is the automotive sector – these companies are more focused on process improvements,” remarks Gonzalez.
Executive search and talent consulting in the US
Competition for jobs remains stiff with organisations receiving many applications for their roles. So what advice would she give to jobseekers to help them boost their employability? “Even if most are conducted virtually be well prepared for your interviews and do your research. Carefully analyse your skillset,” advises Gonzalez. “Make sure your technology works and pay attention to how you look and present yourself. You might want to connect with an executive search firm who can represent you so let them know about your situation and your preferences.”
Organisations must sell themselves too given the uncertainty in the market. As Gonzalez says, “Candidates are perhaps more reluctant to move so you have to give them a good reason to do so. A strong brand reputation in the marketplace will also boost attraction. Companies must also seek to understand what their talent priorities and specific skill requirements are – a specialist recruiter can help you.”
Despite the challenges and slow recovery, there is still a very strong appetite among global companies to set up in the world’s biggest economy. “More so than in Europe, organisations from all over the world want to invest in the US given the potential it has to offer. They are looking to make critical hires in advance so that when the market picks up, they will have a first mover advantage with the right people in place to execute their strategy.”
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Morgan Philips Executive Search in the US