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From Site Selection magazine, May 2022

‘Help Wanted’: Signs of the Times

Scott Cameron


o company, no industry is immune to the current talent shortage. Virtually everywhere you go, whether it’s your local supermarket or your corporate headquarters, you see “Help Wanted” signs posted. They are, quite literally, the signs of the times.

Commercial real estate news website Bisnow recently indicated that the labor shortage impacts at least 70% of commercial real estate firms. That may very well be a lowball estimate. Whatever the number, the industrial sector can certainly be included. In this month’s accompanying feature, IAMC members share their views of this upheaval in top talent, and it’s certainly worth the read. It includes a prediction of how long the current imbalance will last, and our members’ views might surprise you.

It’s been called the Great Resignation, and indeed, Pew Research reports the nation’s “quit rate” hit a 20-year high last November. But it’s more accurately called the Great Reevaluation, as we watch potential candidates become more selective in their choice of jobs. Frankly, it’s a confidence I wish I had when I was hunting for my first job.

As often as not, today’s candidates are looking not just for a paycheck, but an alignment of values. It could be a commitment to ESG protocols or more diverse and inclusive hiring practices. They’re looking for a cultural fit and an awareness on the part of their potential employer that the company exists within a local and global community. Increasingly, candidates want to work where they, through their employer, can give back. They want their career to be more than just a job.

Another potential deal breaker is the option to work from home. In more and more cases, if a candidate cannot work from home, they move on. They want the option of remote working and the ability to explore a greater work/life balance. And with most of the chips on their side of the table right now, they are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them to evaluate which firm checks the most boxes.

But I would be careful here to lay this new attitude solely at the doorstep of up-and-coming generations, Millennials or Gen Xers. Many of those contributing to the quit rate are Boomers, and yes, it seems that most are retiring. But many are looking to start writing their next chapter and doing so with a new purpose.

Marcus & Millichap underscored this purpose in its recent industrial forecast: “Another challenge facing the economy this year is a labor shortage. While employers created more than 6.6 million jobs in 2021 and should add about 3.7 million positions this year, personnel needs are still not met.” This is a clear reference to the mismatch between culture and expectation.

Of course, the knowledge sharing that takes place in IAMC’s Forums as well as our Cornerstone discussion board can open a greater dialogue about hiring challenges, corporate cultural positions and solutions to the hiring quagmire. But there are other avenues to explore as well. A recent white paper from BOMA International points to the importance of spreading your net wider. If you’re doing what you’ve always done — posting your job ads on Monster or Indeed, and letting it go at that — your message is just not getting out. Besides, you know what they say about doing things the same old way and expecting a different result.

Rather than “posting and praying,” try a little outreach to local colleges — and don’t forget the community colleges. Also, as one IAMC member suggested during a virtual Corporate-Only Roundtable we hosted recently, remember veterans’ groups and the job boards in neighborhood associations that cater to diversity.

Finding top talent now is a major challenge — for all of us. But these are different times, and a little outside-of-the-box thinking can reap new and better results. Yes, it will demand some research and time, but you can rise to the challenge. Along the way, you might also consider if your operation is a cultural fit for a new era of hiring. Only good can come of it.


Scott Cameron

Chair, IAMC Board of Directors

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