More than 60% of employers are now willing to hire applicants with less than the required work experience

@jsdaniel | Twenty20

Job seekers have the upper hand in today's labor market — so much so that employers are beginning to be more flexible in order to bring on new talent. 

In the last year, nearly 40% of companies have eased their job requirements in order to fill vacant roles, according to a new survey from Adecco USA. The recruiting and staffing firm for temporary workers asked over 500 hiring managers about what efforts they're using to widen their candidate pools. About half of respondents represented employers in manufacturing, industrial, call center or transportation fields, while the remaining respondents came from all other industries.

What requirements are employers willing to budge on most? According to the survey, hiring managers are more likely to give leeway when it comes to previous related experience. Instead, 78% of companies will consider applicants with transferable skills that could lend to train-ability in the new job, rather than them having to fit the description exactly.

"To compete in today's tight labor market, employers across industries are becoming more flexible with their job requirements," said Amy Glaser, senior vice president of Adecco USA, in a release. "In many cases employers are bringing in talent that may not have all the skills needed and then upskilling or training candidates to complete job-specific tasks."

Employers surveyed were most willing to be flexible when it came to:

  • Lowering years of experience (62%)
  • Speeding up the hiring process (52%)
  • Reducing education requirements (50%)
  • Stopping drug testing candidates (21%)
  • Stopping background checks (16%)

The report supports other industry numbers that suggest employers are willing to reframe expectations in order to attract more applicants to an open position. According to a separate survey, 84% of HR managers say their company is willing to hire an employee whose skills don't exactly match those reflected in the job description but can be developed through training. On the flip side, 62% of candidates who applied for a job they felt under-qualified still landed an offer.

These are just more examples of a strong job market in which workers have the advantage, whether they're quitting in record numbers or "ghosting" opportunities that don't meet their own expectations. Timing around the hiring process also plays a significant role: 70% of job seekers will lose interest in a role if they don't hear back from the employer within a week of their first interview. The time-to-hire schedule is something over half of employers in the Adecco survey adjusted in order to retain candidates through the screening process, particularly because they were losing candidates to competing offers. Nearly one-third of candidates also reportedly withdrew from the hiring process in favor of pursuing freelance work.

"The shelf life of a candidate can shrink from days to 24 hours," Glaser said. "If a company requires background checks, drug screening and three interviews, the candidate is going to walk down the street and get a job somewhere else. It is imperative companies get candidates in the door — and through interview processes — quickly."

In the case of the companies represented in the Adecco survey, 70% of employers were open to sweetening the deal for applicants by providing more flexible scheduling, particularly by allowing workers to build their own schedules, take more personal days off or even work remotely, in some cases.

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