San Diego, CA

Why Isn't America's Finest City Attracting Workers?

Casandra Reid

An honest plea to job seekers: I am a local hiring manager and would love to hear from you.

What is it that you most value in an employer, and what are you looking for in your next job or career move?
Photo by Daniel Guerra on Unsplash

San Diego has been dubbed "America's Finest City," and if the finest is struggling, what say the others?

As a Hiring Manager, I feel at my witts end trying to fill my vacancies.

There is so much noise in the recruitment space and also so much competition. Still, suppose you are listening as a job seeker or another insightful hiring manager. In that case, I have a straightforward question:

Why are candidates not attracted to government jobs that provide excellent healthcare and retirement benefits?

Better yet, what is it that candidates are looking for to consider a job or career move worth their while?

I humbly ask as I seek to be part of the solution, not the problem.

I've realized that salary (cash) is still king in a competitive job market. Over recent weeks, I have had three employees offer sincere apologies for leaving while accepting promotions outside the department.

Of course, I support their bold career moves and, hopefully, growth.

But what do they all have in common?

Their other offers pay higher, and turning a bigger paycheck down is considered taboo, especially in this economy.

Also, I offered another candidate the top pay step for a vacancy I’m filling. They called me a couple of days ago and declined my offer, having accepted a higher-paying role in another competing department.

All other benefits remain the same, but the difference in base salary was the deal breaker.

Thankfully, a second candidate accepted my offer and is moving along in the hiring process.

The promotions and rejections confirm that employees and job candidates consider many factors when they make a career move or decision. However, rest assured, the bulk of their consideration often resides around showing them the money, and the more (cash), the merrier.

I want to know how to not only attract quality candidates but also how I can retain them.

Is it all or mostly about the pay for the majority?

If you are a local job seeker, I would love to hear from you regarding what you look for in your ideal employer.

I acknowledge the way we live, work, and play has changed forever

Undoubtedly, 2020 has been life-defining for many, if not all of us.

In one way or another, we have seen and felt the impacts. I am not oblivious to the changes in how we live our lives post-2020.

I will not discredit how the last 2+ years have impacted our lives and livelihood. And for those who believe there is some "normal" to which we will reawake, let me be the first to say, wake up, dear sleeper because this is it.

Normal is what we create it to be from here on out.

Employers who fail to recognize the shift in the landscape over the past two years are only deceiving themselves. The way we work, live, and play has changed. One thing that many of us learned to do over the past couple of years is to prioritize.

There is no going back to living and working as we did before, as though we haven't been enlightened.

Many employees have established boundaries, especially at work, that help them balance the rest of their lives. Boundaries are significant game-changers when reinforced.

Recognize the competition for Top Talent remains high

There is a war on for the best talent. Please make no mistake that top candidates know their skills are still in high demand.

Hence, the need for employers to be able to attract and retain them.

Still, in an oversaturated job market, it is easy for a recruitment post to become lost amongst so many others without the right recruitment approach and systems in place. Also, it will be challenging to attract the best candidates without knowing what the target market finds most appealing.

Hence my direct inquiry to job seekers: what do you look for or find most compelling in a prospective employer?

Closing thoughts

Working in Human Resources has been very eye-opening.

It isn't cliche that the most valuable asset a business or organization has is its people. Instead, it is reality. Having key people in critical roles will differentiate between success and failure.

Again, as a local hiring manager, I long to know how to tap into the talent pool to attract the right talent, meet my organization's needs better, and reward candidates by meeting their expectations.

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Human Resources Professional - MBA | 15 years experience | Relatable working mom of 2 Boys | Wife | Writer

Chula Vista, CA

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