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Business Development

Are You Fishing Where the Jobs Are? Data Can Help You Find the Right Niches


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Job ads don’t necessarily translate into jobs, but they do provide a look at where and for what employers are seeking candidates. In June, says Wanted Analytics, registered nurses were the most advertised for occupation in the U.S.

Every month, Wanted analyzes thousands of web sites, tabulating the totals and classifying each ad by job type and title. Last month, there were 246,322 help wanted ads online for RNs. General medical and surgical hospitals were the heaviest advertisers — and that goes for all types of jobs, not just nurses. They posted 96,557 open positions during the month.

Demand for RNs, which slackened a few years ago, is on the rise. Wanted says there were 22.8% more ads for nurses in June than in June 2011.

The healthcare industry has been one of the consistent growth areas almost throughout the entire recession. In June, healthcare added 13,000 positions reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nursing and residential facilities and hospitals added a combined 8,200 jobs.

Surprisingly, Wanted says ads for truck drivers were the second most common ad online in June. The 145,004 ads represent a 23.7% increase from a year ago. That’s consistent with the transportation sector as a whole, which, the BLS says, added 72,600 jobs in a year. Truck transporation accounted for 40,300 of those new jobs.

Data is one thing; making wise use of it is another. What just these two examples show (and there are plenty of others when you look just at the Wanted numbers) is where opportunity lies. Every recruiter knows that healthcare is growing faster than every other industry segment. The challenge is finding talent.

A few years ago, during an ideas roundtable, one of the agencies there explained how they had sent a flier, followed up by a postcard inviting the nurses in the area to a free seminar that offered continuing ed credits. The seminar was specific to the type of specialty for which the agency had recurring needs. There were about 40 attendees, all of whom filled out a questionnaire, which became the basis for developing call sheets.

Expectations are that the demand for nurses (and other healthcare workers) will continue well into the future. Ditto for software engineers and computer support specialists, which also made Wanted’s top 10 ads list. However, among recruiters and staffing firms, there’s already plenty of competition for candidates and job orders in these areas.

So consider branching into other, growing sectors; truck drivers, for instance. According to David Heller, director of safety and policy at the American Truckload Carriers Association, there’s a current need for 200,000 drivers. A study by Avatar Fleet, a management and trucking industry recruitment consultant, put the cost of turnover at $12,000 per driver in 2010.

While trucking companies may not be the most lucrative of employers for independent recruiters, with rising demand comes rising salaries and the potential for a supplemental income stream in an area where the competition from other outside recruiters is far less keen.

Plus, trucking companies, which made Wanted’s list of the industries with the most online jobs in June, are becoming more aggressive in their own recruiting. They’ve put help-wanted ads on their fleet vehicles, offered free training, newer trucks for experienced drivers, and, now, signing bonuses of $1,000 or more.

Even if trucking isn’t in your future, leveraging data such as Wanted’s near-daily releases can help you find little tapped niches where you can grow business.

John has been writing about recruiting and employment for nearly a decade,and has worked in the field for almost twice as long. He traces his connection to the employment industry back to the beginning of the commercial Internet when he managed some of the earliest news oriented websites. These offered job boards, which became highly popular with users. John worked with agencies and large employers on job postings, resume search, and campaigns, before consulting with media companies on audience development and online advertising sales.