The Chicago Tribune recently reported that a local company, Extended Care Clinical, sees the current high unemployment rate as a golden opportunity--to reach out to the unemployed and retrain them to fill their nursing slots. Despite the downturn, qualified nurses remain in short supply, so they're offering to pay for nursing school for candidates willing to retrain to join their company as nurses.
This article got me thinking about how many other small businesses might benefit from the current large pool of available workers. For instance, could you save money by taking someone with good skills, but lacking the exact background you'd normally want, and hire them in at a lower salary, ramping them up with on-the-job training? That's a great opportunity for the worker to move up the career ladder, while you get a more-affordable, highly trained employee.
If you need salespeople, might you tap into some of the federally funded retraining that's going on for workers in distressed industries such as automotive, to hire someone with great sales skills?
Or might you locate a worker looking to transition into your industry who'd be willing to do a low-paying internship to get experience? Or someone willing to work as a temp with the possibility of it turning into a permanent hire later? That's a great opportunity for you to audition workers without committing up-front.
In a downturn, small businesses often lay off employees, just when they need to work harder to keep their business successful. Right now, the labor market is teeming with people looking for opportunities, career changes, or just ways to stay busy and keep building their resumes.
Today, it's a hirer's market. How will you take advantage of it?