For those of us in business, hiring qualified employees can be challenging. When the economy becomes healthy, two things happen. One, finding qualified candidates for employment becomes difficult because so many people already have jobs.
Secondly, candidates who are not working, may not have the necessary skills an employer needs. That means busy employers will need to invest in more training. That takes someone, who is active in the company, out of the game long enough to get the new hire up and running. That can be anywhere from a couple hours to a couple months. In our electrical company, it will be at least three months for a seasoned electrician to mentor a new hire to get him/her trained on our techniques and methods. That makes it difficult to hire because we're already committed to projects that are on a time-line.
These are two challenges employers face in a strong economy. The current national unemployment rate is 3.7%. That is down from 4.1% at the end of 2017. In Virginia, Christmas came early this year. The Virginia unemployment rate is 2.8%. That is the lowest unemployment has been since April of 2001.
As a Virginian, that thrills me. It means our state has a strong economy, it also means finding good employees for future company growth will be more difficult for the immediate future. If good candidates are found, employers will likely have to pay more to get them, and keep them. That's good for employee candidates, but it may mean the average citizen pays more for goods and services from the companies that are increasing employee pay. That's simple economics.
Cornerstone is building a sister company in 2019 that will work hand in hand with the real estate brokerage. The new company will also aid other real estate agents and brokerages throughout the area. I've already started interviewing candidates for a mid-to-late January hire.
What I'm finding is that candidates who are applying, do not have the skills I need to accomplish our new company goals. Fortunately, I started talking to potential hires months ago. At this point, I have about 50% of what I need to get started. Most of January will be spent getting new employees up and running for their new jobs. This is one time where a low employment rate makes business more difficult for employers, but I'll take a 2.8% any day.