Tips for Navigating a
Tight Labor Market

What do recruiting and marketing have in common? Just about everything!

In the highly competitive labor market of 2024, recruiting is marketing. More than ever, attracting and hiring the best talent requires marketing expertise, especially in the green industry.

2024 Labor Market Snapshot

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the statistics are daunting. Right now, there are 9.5 million job openings in the U.S., but only 6.5 million workers available to fill them.

Ohio’s Labor Shortage

As of February 2024, Ohio has 62 available workers for every 100 open jobs. Here’s the data:

Job Openings: 314,000
Unemployed Workers: 195,642
Labor Force Participation Rate: 62.1%
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
Quit Rate: 2.4%
Hiring Rate (all payroll additions as a percentage of total employment): 3.4%

The number of Ohio workers employed in the landscaping industry dropped nearly ten percent between May 2019 and May 2023.

Source:  U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Even if every unemployed American found a job, there would still be nearly 2.4 million unfilled positions. That’s because the overall share of the U.S. working population has dropped since the pandemic. If our current employment rate was the same as in February 2020, there would be two million more Americans available to fill those open positions.

This data only confirms what employers already know: hiring is a struggle right now. But by applying strategies from the marketer’s playbook your company can still build a successful irrigation and landscaping team.

#1. Know Your Product and Target Audience

Determine exactly what your products are. That is, which jobs are you currently seeking to fill? This is where workforce planning comes in. You must understand the composition of your current workforce and identify any skill gaps. You’ll also want to identify the most high-potential individuals among current staff who may be trained to fill these gaps. Finally, to keep your business growing, you’ll need to determine what kind of workers your company will need in the future.

Your target audience is the pool of job candidates with the required skills. Making your available jobs appealing to them requires intentionality and strategy – just like the marketing of any product.

#2. Craft Your Message

When crafting your message, steer clear from a dry description of duties. Instead, use marketing tactics to create a customized missive that will make your available position stand out.

Your message must directly answer the candidate’s main question: “What’s in it for me?” An enticing proposition will include details about skills that can be learned on the job, interesting projects that would challenge them, a description of the company culture, and expected compensation and benefits.

Enlist the help of your marketing department to create more compelling job postings. Tap current employees for content — such as testimonials, videos, and day-in-the life insights — to further engage job seekers by showcasing what it’s really like to work for your company.

Irrigation and landscaping companies must promote the wide variety of fulfilling careers available in the green industry. Make sure your message includes the fact that creative, logistical, horticultural, and technological skills are in demand right now.

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#3. Use Multiple Channels

You’ll want to promote your job openings via multiple channels. In addition to online advertising and careers sites, leveraging social media is crucial if you want to attract the best talent quickly. Job seekers often peruse Linkedin, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram before applying for employment. Using these platforms to build awareness of your company is critical to converting passive candidates into applicants.

Reach deep into your target audience by suggesting your current staff members share job openings on their personal social media pages.

#4. Provide a Positive Experience

Court prospective candidates by treating them like potential customers. Sell your product by detailing what you can do for them.

You want job candidates to have an authentic and positive experience. Throughout the recruiting process, the candidate/employer relationship is paramount. Instead of just trying to fill an opening, take this opportunity to learn more about the individual and determine if your job is a good fit.

Even if it’s not, have a system in place to capture the candidate’s information so it may available for future opportunities. Companies who provide candidates with a positive are generally rewarded with higher acceptance rates.

Applying these basic marketing principles to your company’s recruiting efforts will enable you to attract, engage, cultivate, and hire the best talent for your irrigation and landscaping jobs.

Featured Image: Adobe, License Granted
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Irrigation & Lighting
Green Industry Pros