PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis – July 2022

U.S. employers added 528,000 jobs in July. This beat analyst expectations and marks the point where the U.S. economy has recovered all 22 million jobs lost in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%. Year-over-year wage growth increased slightly to 5.2%.

jobs report infographic

The Numbers

528,000: Employers added 528,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in July.

3.5%: The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%.

5.2%: Wages rose 5.2% over the past year

The Good

The headline from July’s jobs report is the news that after 2.5 years, the U.S. economy has recovered all of the jobs lost early in the pandemic. As the Wall Street Journal reports, this marks the fastest job growth at any point after WWII. The strongest growth took place in the leisure and hospitality; business and professional services; and education and health services sectors. The unemployment rate also fell back to the historic low of 3.5% that we saw right before the pandemic.

The Bad

Despite the good news in July’s report, there is one concerning number. The labor participation rate fell again to 62.1%. As MarketWatch reports, experts would expect the labor participation rate to rise in a strong jobs market, as abundant job openings draw more people into the workforce, especially as there are currently more job openings than there are people looking for work. However, most of the decrease is concentrated in the youngest and oldest workers,  those 16-24 and those over 65. This suggests that young workers heading back to school and the retiring baby boomer generation could be behind the drop.

The Unknown

As the New York Times reports, July’s impressive job growth indicates that the U.S. has not entered a recession, despite the fact that the country’s gross domestic product has contracted for the second consecutive quarter. This shows that the economy is withstanding the impact of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate increases. Economists expect job growth to slow down later in the year as interest rate hikes start to make an impact.

Talking Talent: Reducing Unconscious Bias for an Inclusive Recruitment Process

In this episode of our Talking Talent podcast, we hear from Simon Wright, Global Head of Talent Advisory, about tactics to reduce unconscious bias and make your recruitment process more inclusive.

Unconscious bias affects us all. In the two years since the death of George Floyd, public consciousness around the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion has risen throughout the globe. As such, employers can no longer remain silent. 

Not only are investors and shareholders paying greater attention to social challenges, but employees, candidates, and consumers are also pushing businesses to make public commitments regarding diversity and inclusion—and to publish their progress. In today’s job market, where job vacancies are outpacing unemployment, candidates have more choices than ever about where to work—and they’re choosing employers that prioritize DE&I: According to Glassdoor, 76% of candidates said that a diverse workforce was an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. 

Unconscious bias is one of the key forces holding employers back from making strides in DE&I initiatives, and it’s a complicated issue to tackle. In this article, we’ll walk through the different types of unconscious bias, how they can affect your recruitment process and how to effectively reduce their effect.   

What is Unconscious Bias? 

What is Unconscious Bias?

Unconscious bias—sometimes called implicit bias—is a term that describes the associations we hold outside of our conscious awareness. Everyone has them, and they don’t make you a bad person; they’re an evolutionary adaptation designed to help our brains make decisions.  

Imagine if, every time we made a decision, we had to consciously take into account every piece of information available to us. Unconscious bias develops from our life experiences to help us navigate the world more quickly. However, it can also have negative consequences. And, the fact that it happens unconsciously means it can be difficult to bypass.  

For instance, in action, unconscious bias can look like what happened in the Boston Symphony in 1952. The Symphony was looking to diversify its male-dominated orchestra, so it conducted an experiment with a series of blind auditions. In an effort to remove all chance of bias and allow for a merit-based selection only—a selection that would hopefully increase the number of women in the orchestra—the musicians would be auditioning from behind a screen. To their surprise, the initial audition results still skewed male. Then, they asked the musicians to take off their shoes. The reason? The sound of the women’s heels as they entered the audition unknowingly influenced the adjudicators; once the musicians removed their shoes, almost 50% of the women made it past the first audition. 

This is just one example. There are several different types of unconscious bias that affect our decision-making: 

Confirmation Bias 

Confirmation bias causes us to seek out information that confirms something that we already believe. We hear about this type of bias most often in relation to politics. People are more likely to seek out positive news about the candidate they support, reenforcing their belief that they are supporting the right person. It can also play out in the hiring process. Recruiters and hiring managers can make snap decisions about candidates based on perceived truths. Then, they ask questions to try to justify these biases, rather than evaluate each candidate on the same criteria.  

Affect Heuristics 

Affect heuristics are mental shortcuts we take to make decisions based on our emotional or mental state, rather than taking all of the facts into account. In the recruitment process, this could play out with a recruiter or hiring manager discounting a candidate because of personal feelings that have nothing to do with the role. For example, if you used to have a friend named Pete, who you fell out with, you might still carry a negative bias toward a candidate named Pete. 

Anchor/Expectation Bias 

An anchor or expectation bias happens when we allow ourselves to anchor on to one piece of information to make a decision. This can happen in the hiring process when a hiring manager believes that a new hire needs to be a carbon copy of the person who used to have that role, so they anchor on one aspect of a candidate that is similar to the previous employee and ignore other information. 

Halo Effect 

The halo effect is a bias that causes us to use a general positive impression of someone to influence how we evaluate their specific attributes. For example, if we’re impressed by one fact about a person (like if they went to a prestigious university), that could make us see them in a generally positive light. The halo effect often kicks in when we wish we were more like another person. This plays out in the hiring process when a hiring manager or recruiter focuses heavily on one positive aspect of a candidate’s background and lets that guide their opinion moving forward.  

Horn Effect 

The horn effect is the opposite of the halo effect; it happens when we let one perceived negative aspect of a person influence the way we think about them. For instance, something as simple as not liking a candidate’s outfit or the way they speak can cloud a recruiter’s or hiring manger’s judgment during the recruitment process and be difficult to get past. 

Affinity Bias 

The affinity bias causes us to connect with people who are similar to us. This is different from the halo effect because it happens when we identify a similarity with someone, rather than looking up to them. We like the feeling of affinity because it makes us feel connected and part of a community, and we also want to surround ourselves with people who we feel we have rapport with. In the hiring process, this can lead to teams with little cognitive diversity as recruiters and hiring mangers lean toward candidates similar to themselves.  

Conformity Bias  

In essence, conformity bias is peer pressure. It causes us to rely on the opinions of others when making decisions, rather than making an independent choice based on our own interpretation of the facts. This can kick in when making the hiring decision: If you’re on a panel and you think one candidate is really great, but the rest of the group prefers someone else, you could get swept along by the majority. 

Contrast Effect/Judgement Bias  

The contrast effect happens when we compare two similar things to each other, rather than assessing them independently. During the recruitment process, this can happen when a recruiter or hiring manager compares one résumé or CV to another they viewed before. In doing that, they shift the goal posts; instead of judging a candidate based on their suitability for the role, they make a decision based on what they thought of another candidate. 

Combating Unconscious Bias 

Unconscious Bias

Understanding the different types of unconscious bias is only the first step toward reducing its influence on your organization. And, while training can raise awareness, it rarely changes behavior. So, to make a real change, employers should implement a robust diversity and inclusion program that touches every aspect of the hiring process. Following are some proven steps you can take to reduce bias.  

1. Clearly Outline the Role 

Taking time to really understand what the role requires is essential for weeding out bias in the recruitment process. Specifically, by identifying eight to 10 objective criteria that are predictive of role success, you’ll decrease the likelihood that decisions are made using unconscious bias. It’s important to evaluate what it takes to be successful in the role. Is there anything that could stop a candidate from applying? Does the role need to be performed in person or can it be done remotely? Are the criteria you’re using accurate predictors of success? Are you relying on the vague concept of “cultural fit” that breeds affinity bias? 

As an example, some of the big four accounting firms have reduced their reliance on academic achievement for their early careers and campus hiring programs because they know it’s not an accurate predictor of future success in the role. Instead, they’re now focusing on potential by using other measures that they’ve tracked over time to show their effect on performance. 

2. Build an Inclusive Job Description 

Once you’ve outlined your role internally, focus on your external job description. Is there anything that could discourage a strong candidate from applying? In particular, remove gendered language from your job descriptions and check the pronouns you’re using. Additionally, avoid words like “expert,” “superior” or “rockstar” that turn off female candidates. A variety of online tools can help highlight and remove biased language. 

Next, ensure that the requirements that you list for the role only cover what is absolutely necessary. Women are less likely than men to apply to a role if they don’t feel that they meet all of the requirements, whereas men are more likely to apply if they only meet a portion of them.  

Finally, when creating a job description, ask multiple people from different backgrounds to review the job description—and take their feedback into account.  

3. Update Your Screening Process 

The next area to consider is your selection process. Are you relying too much on résumés and CVs? Research shows that CVs are not only fraught with bias, but that they’re also bad predictors of success. That’s because there are many factors on a CV that can trigger unconscious biases, like the person’s name (gender or ethnicity), the school they went to (geography or economic class) or the year they graduated (age).  

For example, according to the National Centre for Social Research, people with white-sounding names are nearly twice as likely to get callbacks for jobs than people with ethnic-sounding names. In their study, job applicants with white-sounding names were a significant 74% more likely to be invited to a job interview compared to applicants with an ethnic/minority-sounding name. 

4. Rethink Your Interviews 

Recruiters and hiring managers often rely heavily on interviews, which can be rife with unconscious bias. On top of that, interviews have a predictive power of 56%, according to Don Moore, a professor at the University of California, Berkley. That means that, if you’re making your decision based on an interview, you’ll make the wrong decision nearly half of the time.  

Plus, most interviews are conducted one-on-one or with small groups, where bias can flourish. However, mixed panels with diverse interviewers and objective criteria used to assess each candidate can lower the risk of bias when compared to traditional interview settings.  

Meanwhile, there can be an increased risk for bias in the new world of virtual interviews, as well. That’s because, when interviewers can see the inside of a person’s home, they can make unfair assumptions. So, if you use video interviews, ask candidates to blur their backgrounds. 

It’s also important to standardize your interview process so that all candidates are evaluated on the same criteria. This helps you avoid the contrast effect where you only compare candidates to each other, rather than against an objective set of criteria. And, to further reduce the chance of bias, reduce the power of the interview. Can you add other assessment techniques, instead, like work simulation tools or sample tests? 

5. Formalize Your Decision Process 

The final piece of the recruitment process is making a hiring decision. Don’t just get together at the end of the interview and say, “You know, I think John was really great,” or “There was just something I really liked about Kathryn.” Conformity bias can play a strong role in these types of discussions.  

Instead, have your panel step away individually, reflect on each candidate and score them based on your objective criteria. Then, you can review those scores as a group and discuss what you learned about the candidates during the recruitment process.  

Defining Success 

Because unconscious bias is so deeply embedded in all of us, it takes the efforts of everyone to reduce it. However, reducing bias in your recruitment process is a long-term commitment and not something that can happen in three or six months—or even a year. Rather, it involves backing from across the organization and all the way up to the leadership team. It also requires hiring managers to really engage with the process and be willing to give up making “gut decisions.” Finally, it also calls for a clear picture of where you want to go and how you’re going to monitor, measure and communicate success.  

Learn more about how to evaluate your program and progress in our ebook, “Progress in Action: Moving Toward a Globally Diverse and Inclusive Workplace.” 

Challenge Accepted: Tactics & Strategies for Hiring in a Candidate’s Job Market

The job market and the world of work have changed drastically in the last few years, leaving employers to deal with the new challenges. For example, in the U.S., there are currently more than 11 million job openings, and year-over-year wage growth was at 5.2% in May. On top of that, the Great Resignation has record numbers of workers leaving their jobs: In the last six months in the U.S., more than 4 million people left their jobs each month. And, it’s spreading across the globe; CNN reports that resignations have also jumped in countries like the United Kingdom, Australia and France. 

But, employers are dealing with more than just a tight talent market, increased turnover and rising wages; the world of work has changed permanently—and so have candidate expectations. For instance, nearly two-thirds of the workforce wants some form of remote work option and nearly one-third wants hybrid work. As such, employers can’t simply plan to return to the pre-pandemic ways of doing business; instead, they must adapt. 

More precisely, to succeed in this job market, you need to both hire the best talent and retain the workers you already have—and that requires multifaceted solutions that address the specific issues within your organization. In this article, we’ll cover the potential sources of your talent challenges, some signs that they may be negatively affecting your organization and strategies you can use to get ahead.  

Is Your Employer Brand on Life Support? 

Throughout the pandemic and initial recovery, many organizations didn’t have the resources to invest in their employer brands. Unfortunately, if this was the case for your organization, it may be affecting your ability to recruit top talent. That’s because, if your employer brand is weak, qualified candidates won’t apply because they simply have other options.  

So, how can you tell if your employer brand is holding your organization back? Watch for these warning signs: 

why is there a labor shortage 2022

Solution: Rebuild Your Employer Brand 

If any of these signs look familiar, it’s time to focus on your employer brand. Luckily, there are a few things you can do. The first is to build out a strong employer value proposition (EVP) as the foundation of an employer branding campaign.  

At PeopleScout, we define your EVP as the essence of your uniqueness as an employer, as well as the give and get between you and your employees. In many ways, your EVP is the foundation of your employer brand—the perception and lived experiences of what it’s like to work for your organization.  

It’s important to note that building a strong EVP to drive your employer brand requires research into the short- and long-term goals of your organization; the reality of what it’s like to work for you right now; and the outside perception of your organization. That information is distilled into an EVP that’s unique, aspirational, authentic and dynamic. From there, you can communicate your message through an employer branding campaign via your careers site, social media campaigns, hiring events and more.  

At PeopleScout, we supported work on the employer brand at Vodafone, a telecommunications company in the UK. In this case, consumers knew the brand well as a mobile phone retailer, but didn’t see it as a multifaceted tech innovator. So, to help Vodafone hire more young workers, we worked to create an employer brand campaign that captured the spirit of change and possibility that’s part of their EVP. At the end of the project, PeopleScout had generated more than 16,000 applications and increased the number of female candidates by 23%. 

Does Your Candidate Experience Leave Much to be Desired? 

If your employer brand is in good shape, but you’re still struggling to hire qualified candidates, the next area to evaluate is your candidate experience. Candidate experience has always been important, but it’s even more critical in today’s job market. Nowadays, people have plenty of other options, so they won’t take the time to complete a long application or wait weeks for a call back.  

How can you tell if your candidate experience is the cause of your hiring woes? Look for these signs: 

Candidates accept other offers while in your recruitment process. 
You have a lot of interviews, but make few hires. 
Your process is slow and requires multiple steps for candidates.
Candidates ghost before starting

Solution: Update Your Talent Tech Stack 

The right technology can have a significant influence on your candidate experience. Candidates want the recruitment experience to be fast and easy and allow them to feel in control. For this reason, evaluate every step of the candidate journey to identify where you can make improvements with technology. 

Your first step is to look at your application. Have you tried filling out your own application recently? How long does it take to complete? Is it simple or does it feel drawn out and tedious? Can you complete the application on a mobile device? If the process takes a long time or requires a desktop computer, it’s time to update your application.  

Then, look for other points in the process where you might make things easier for candidates. Do candidates have to wait weeks to schedule a screening or interview? If so, consider adding a self-scheduling interview tool or virtual interview solution, like text interviews or on-demand interviews. Furthermore, adding something as simple as a status bar that shows candidates where they are in the process can help them stay engaged. 

At PeopleScout, we work with a large retailer that had a strong consumer brand, but still struggled to recruit candidates. Their application required a computer and took more than 30 minutes to fill out. As an alternative, we developed a mobile-first application with just 11 questions that took less than eight minutes to complete. Now, half the candidates apply on mobile devices and the application conversion rate rose to 85%. For comparison, employers using a traditional application have an average applicant conversion rate of just 35%. 

Are Your Offers Competitive Enough in the Job Market? 

Salary and benefits are the elephants in the room in any discussion about hiring challenges. Wages are rising significantly. While the average year-over-year salary growth in the U.S. is at 5.2%, some industries are experiencing even steeper wage growth. For example, in the leisure and hospitality sector, wages are up more than 11% in the last year. In fact, the World Economic Forum reports that wages are rising in every region of the world. Therefore, in the current job market, your offer needs to be competitive.  

Here are some signs that your offers may not be competitive enough: 

Candidates make it through the process, but turn down offers. 
Candidates cite salary expectations significantly higher than your budget. 
Employees who leave frequently cite increased pay. 

Solution: Adjust Your Compensation to Current Job Market Rates 

If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs, evaluate your compensation against the market and adjust where necessary. Due to remote work, the job market has changed. Now, you’re not just competing against employers in your area for talent; you’re competing for talent across the country and, in some cases, the entire world. 

To that end, an RPO or MSP provider can help advise you on market rates and what types of adjustments are needed to make your offers more competitive. Plus, increasing your wages could even save you money in the long run.  

This happened for one PeopleScout client, a major rural healthcare system. Hit hard by the ongoing nursing shortage, the healthcare organization was relying on expensive travel nurses and struggling to bring in enough candidates. PeopleScout advised the provider to implement a $10,000 hiring bonus. This resulted in a cost savings as the client was able to reduce its nursing recruitment spend by 77%, totaling more than $4 million. The client was also able to reduce its use of traveling nurses by 68% and experienced its lowest-ever nursing vacancy rate—just 1.3%. 

Does Your Company Culture Send People Running? 

Perhaps the best way to avoid staffing shortages is to ensure that you don’t have to backfill large numbers of roles due to turnover. The Great Resignation is in full swing, but employers shouldn’t just throw their hands in the air as employees leave for new jobs.  

The good news is that employee turnover isn’t just about money. Talent leaders are finding that a major driving factor is employee disengagement. Throughout the last few years, many employees have experienced negative effects on their mental health, causing burnout and driving a reevaluation of work/life balance. Conversely, company culture can play a huge role in keeping employees happy, healthy and engaged. 

Is your company culture a problem? Watch for these warning signs:  

 job market

Solution: Determine What Employees Want in the Job Market & Meet Their Needs 

To improve your company culture, you must first determine what employees feel they’re lacking from your organization. You can gather this information in two ways—and both are valuable. First, you should be conducting exit interviews with employees who have resigned. Try to get an idea of why they decided to take a new role. Is it simply increased pay? Did they feel they lacked a clear career path at your organization? Did they not feel appreciated by managers and colleagues?  

Next, try to identify problems before they drive employees to leave. You can accomplish this through anonymous pulse surveys; there are a number of tools you can use to track employee engagement and look for areas of improvement. Do employees want more opportunities for training? Do they want to feel as though they’re part of something bigger? Do they feel as though company leadership is not addressing their concerns? 

Then, once you determine the biggest pain points for employees, make targeted improvements to your company culture. You can demonstrate appreciation for your workers in tangible ways: Communicate actively and often. Define paths for advancement and look at learning and development programs. Offer more flexibility. Provide training for managers. Not only will these kinds of investments keep tenured employees from leaving, but they can also improve your employer brand and make your employment offers more competitive.  

There’s no doubt that the current talent market is difficult for employers, but the sources of the struggle are multifaceted and complex. There isn’t an easy, one-size-fits-all solution. Employers need to evaluate both the candidate and employee experience and alter their processes where inadequacies reveal themselves. You can’t keep waiting for “things to return to normal.” We’re in the new normal, and we have to adapt. To learn more, check out our ebook, “Employer Brand: Helping the Right Talent Choose You.” 

Prioritizing Mental Health for Employees: Creating a Culture That Promotes Employee Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental health for employees remains top of mind in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly contributed to deteriorating employee mental health around the globe, bringing new awareness to the importance of employee wellbeing. Globally, the overall number of mental disorder cases rose dramatically in 2020, with an additional 53.2 million cases of anxiety and 76.2 million cases of major depressive disorders, as reported by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).  Many of the factors that led to this dramatic increase at the height of the pandemic remain—childcare and other caretaking responsibilities, financial difficulties, economic uncertainty and unemployment, to name a few.  

“These are stressful times. Half of Americans say their mental health has been affected by the pandemic. When you add racial injustices and a recession into the equation, a mental health crisis is imminent.”

Stephen Etkind, telemedicine provider with First Stop Health

Forbes noted that nearly six times as many employers have reported increased mental health issues among employees since the pandemic began. Clearly, this growing problem is one that employers can’t afford to ignore. 

Staggering Statistics

Mind/body health company All Points North conducted a survey of 1,000 individuals. They found that, since the onset of the pandemic, 36% of respondents reported experiencing more anxiety, 32% were suffering more panic attacks and 27% reported greater depression—with more than 30% saying that they regularly battled stress and anxiety. Similarly, a report from Indeed found that 52% of all workers were feeling burned out, up more than 9% from a pre-COVID survey. 

Mental Health for Employees

According to the 2022 State of Workplace Mental Health report by Lyra Health, working parents and other caregivers are more likely to face mental health challenges; nearly 90% of caregivers surveyed said they had experienced at least one mental health challenge in the last year and were more likely to experience worsening mental health. Moreover, Mental Health America estimates that depression costs the U.S. $51 billion in absenteeism and lost productivity alone, and Gallup data backs up this theory, finding that burned-out employees were 63% more likely to take a sick day and more than twice as likely to be actively looking for a different job.   

However, just as employee mental health is not a new concern, it’s also not one that will vanish anytime soon. As such, it’s essential for employers to recognize and prioritize the psychological safety of their employees, just as they protect employees’ physical safety. But, how do employers prioritize mental health in order to retain employees and give themselves a competitive advantage? Let’s start by taking a closer look at worker expectations. 

What Workers Want: How to Better Support Mental Health at Work

Mental Health at Work

The pandemic shined a light on previously unexamined areas of peoples’ lives—causing many to shift their priorities, rethink their work/life balance and reevaluate what really matters. And, these moments of clarity are unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon. Workers want a change in their working lives and are prepared to leave their jobs if they don’t feel support for their mental health at work.   
For instance, according to a FlexJobs survey, 56% of workers listed flexibility in their workday as the top way that their employer could better support them. In fact, remote work is considered the most important element to compensation and benefit packages, ranked only behind salary. Encouraging time off and offering mental health days were tied for second at 43%, and 28% said increased PTO and better health insurance were needed. Evidently, adopting a remote or hybrid work model could go far in many organizations, although that may not always be realistic depending on the role or industry. Fortunately, there are other ways that employers can ensure employee wellbeing. 

Actionable Ways to Prioritize Mental Health for Employees

employee mental health

The problem is clear: Employees are suffering mentally, emotionally, psychologically and even physically. So, to effectively prioritize the mental health of employees, it must be woven into the fabric of a company’s culture. The following are a few actionable ways you can do so. 

Effective Leadership and Mental Health at Work

As with any meaningful cultural change, leader buy-in is essential—and mental health prioritization in the workplace starts at the top. By demonstrating awareness, compassion and openness toward mental health, leaders can reduce employee concerns of being perceived as weak or vulnerable if they come forward with an issue. And, the most successful leaders know that leading by what they do is far more effective than what they say.

In an article on post-pandemic mental health predictions from Forbes, Adam Weber, SVP of community at 15Five, said,

“If executives want their employees to prioritize their mental health, they need to be doing the same in a very visible way. It’s one thing to encourage people to take time off for therapy or a mental health day, but most leaders have yet to take the next step of doing that themselves in a transparent way.”

Adam Weber, SVP of community at 15Five

Leaders should also regularly and actively listen to their employees; having open and honest conversations with employees about what matters to them and how they’re feeling mentally and emotionally is critically important. For example, in a study with Qualtrics and SAP, Harvard Business Review found that nearly 40% of global employees said no one at their company had asked them how they were doing. Conversely, ensure that your leaders are creating a safe space during one-on-one meetings with their staff to bring forward any worries, anxieties, struggles and concerns.  

In the People Managers’ Guide to Mental Health, UK-based mental health charity Mind and international champion for better work CIPD offer the following suggestions for a management style that promotes employee mental health:  

  • Create realistic deadlines. 
  • Communicate job objectives clearly. 
  • Deal with problems as soon as they arise. 
  • Give employees the right level of responsibility. 
  • Encourage participation from the whole team. 
  • Act as a mediator in conflict situations. 

When managers and executives are on board with prioritizing mental health, the groundwork is laid for a culture that acknowledges and protects all aspects of employee wellbeing.   

Recognize the Signs of Mental Illness in the Workplace

Once top-down buy-in is achieved regarding the importance of employee mental wellbeing, it’s important for employers to understand and be able to spot the early signs of mental health issues in the workplace—and know how to respond. While employers should not give advice about a mental health problem (as they’re rarely qualified to do so), identifying warning signs and responding appropriately can help prevent issues from escalating. This awareness is also a critical component of a culture that prioritizes the mental wellbeing of its employees.  

Early indicators of a potential mental health struggle may include:  

  • A sudden change in the employee’s work habits 
  • A dramatic difference in an employee’s personality 
  • An increase in absences or arriving late to work 
  • A sudden inability to control extreme emotions 
  • Social withdrawal 

If you notice any of these red flags, or if an employee approaches you with concerns regarding their mental health, be sure to approach the topic carefully and with respect. Make them comfortable by showing empathy and compassion, and reassure them that there is no judgment or risk to their professional reputation.  

Organization-Wide Training

Beyond identifying the warning signs of mental health concerns, employers must also equip employees at all levels of the organization to manage issues as they arise. In a recent global managers’ survey from Yahoo, less than one-third of managers said they felt equipped to handle the mental health needs of their team and 80% of managers worried about using the wrong language when addressing sensitive topics like mental health.

Additionally, some individuals may feel more comfortable bringing forward a concern to a peer, as opposed to their leader. For this reason, it’s critical to educate all employees on the best way to manage these situations. Plus, the right training can help bridge the gap between mental health awareness and effectively meeting the mental health needs of the workforce. Investing in mental health training for all levels of the organization will pay dividends in employee wellbeing and retention. Formal learning programs can also help substantially move the needle by debunking myths, reducing stigma, and building skills to appropriately and effectively manage concerns.

Employee Resource Groups 

If you don’t have the budget to invest in training, mental health employee resource groups (MHERGs) are a low-cost way to build a culture that prioritizes employee wellbeing. Regardless of the segment of your employee population that they represent, ERGs provide employees with the unique support that only those with shared experiences can provide.  

According to Bernie Wong, manager of research and design at Mind Share Partners, MHERGs are “an effective resource that reduces mental health-related stigma through an evidence-based model of social contact, peer support and education.” Further, Wong believes that MHERGs should be open to the general employee population and that participation should be encouraged for all employees—regardless of their mental health needs—so that belonging to the group doesn’t “out” someone as having a mental health issue. This also ensures that membership doesn’t violate employee privacy rights.  

At PeopleScout, our Healthy Minds Collective is an ERG that “inspires individuals to enrich their mental health and wellbeing by enhancing the mind, body and spirit connection.” Additionally, our team in the Europe/Middle East/Asia region (EMEA) also created a group called “Here For You.” This team of volunteers received the training and certification* required to serve as “Mental Health Responders” to provide employees with a confidential channel for reporting mental health concerns and share valuable resources with employees. 

Even if employees choose not to participate, simply making employees aware of ERGs such as these and openly communicating about group activities and discussions can go a long way in normalizing mental health in the workplace, which helps foster a culture of inclusivity and emotional wellbeing. 

* Level 2 Award in Mental Health: Workplace Responder qualification from St. John Ambulance service 

Employee Assistance Programs 

In addition to employee resources and training, comprehensive health benefits that include mental health services are quickly becoming a requirement, not a perk, according to Corporate Wellness Magazine. These benefits (or lack thereof) are influencing employees’ decisions about staying in their current job versus looking for a new one. For instance, in Lyra Health’s 2022 State of the Workforce Mental Health, it was reported that 84% of employees surveyed indicated that it was important that a prospective employer offer “robust and comprehensive mental health benefits,” with 29% saying it was “very important” and 55% saying it was “somewhat important.” 

During COVID-19, many companies added or expanded their Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to help employees cope with the added stress, uncertainty, personal loss and safety concerns associated with the pandemic. However, as we’ve learned, heightened mental health issues aren’t dissipating anytime soon. Therefore, providing employees with access to quality, convenient and affordable mental health care is more important than ever.  

Encouragingly, many employers are catching on to the need for comprehensive health benefits to attract and retain employees, as well as improve employee satisfaction and experience. As an example, Kara Hoogensen, senior vice president of specialty benefits at Principal Financial Group, said EAPs, telehealth and mental health programs were among the top benefits that employers planned to increase in 2022.  

Employers across the globe are recognizing the importance of supporting and protecting the mental health of their employees as a vital component to the future success of their business. However, although we saw a rise in conversations around mental health during COVID-19, the stigma still remains. Therefore, above all else, practice normalizing conversations about mental health and creating a safe space to raise and address issues. Additionally, encourage employees and managers to openly use the term “mental health” and integrate associated language into corporate training, company newsletters, meeting agendas, and more to make it clear that your workplace acknowledges and prioritizes mental wellbeing. Finally, practice self-care at all levels of the organization—in a visible way—to assure employees that they can and should do the same. 

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis – June 2022

U.S. employers added 372,000 jobs in June, beating analyst expectations. The unemployment rate remained at 3.6%. Year-over-year wage growth softened but remained high at 5.1%.

jobs report infographic

The Numbers

372,000: Employers added 372,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.

3.6%: The unemployment rate remained at 3.6%.

5.1%: Wages rose 5.1% over the past year.

The Good

The 372,000 jobs added in June demonstrate the job market remains strong despite inflation. Though the latest numbers come in lower than the 400,000+ jobs that had been added in recent months, the latest numbers are still good news. The Wall Street Journal reports that experts expect the strong hiring numbers to continue, especially in the leisure and hospitality sector, as consumer demand for travel and restaurants remains strong. The 3.6% unemployment rate is also good news. The number has held for four months, suggesting that the labor shortage is starting to ease.

The Bad

Despite the good news, there are some concerning signs in June’s report. The labor participation rate, which has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels, fell to 62.2%. This is the second time in the past three months that the labor participation rate has fallen. As MarketWatch reports, this leaves the workforce short of about 1.5 million workers. While the unemployment rate points to some easing of the labor shortage, the labor participation rate indicates that there is still a long way to go.

The Unknown

With the mixed economic news, experts will be watching closely to see if the Federal Reserve’s strategy of raising interest rates will work to tame inflation while maintaining strong job growth. The New York Times reports that the economy faces several large challenges. High prices are restricting consumer spending, the labor force is aging and low immigration slows the growth of the labor force.

Global Hiring and Labor Market Trends Affecting Recruitment in APAC 

At PeopleScout, we’re committed to providing you with information to help guide your talent acquisition decisions across the globe. This article is part of our series identifying talent trends across the globe. 

Asia Pacific (APAC) is home to more than 4.7 billion people, as well as some of the largest global economies. And, because it’s made up of more than 50 countries and territories with varied cultures, languages and job roles, it’s impossible to leverage the same talent acquisition strategy across countries.  

APAC by the Numbers 

global hiring

However, according to the International Monetary Fund, APAC is also the fastest-growing region in the world and, as such, represents a huge opportunity for global enterprises to capitalize on this diverse talent pool. For this reason, it’s imperative for organizations to understand the skills shortages, demographic gaps and pandemic recovery challenges throughout the region.  

In this article, we’ll cover some of the labor market trends in APAC. We’ll also point out what multinational organizations should be aware of when it comes to immigration, education and diversity, as well as their effect on talent acquisition in the region.  

Pandemic Recovery Continues to Vary Across APAC 

The COVID-19 pandemic recovery continues to lag behind in Asia. For instance, China is still enforcing its “zero-COVID” policy, while Shanghai and Hong Kong are dealing with spikes in infection numbers and deaths, which is delaying border openings and stifling employment recovery—particularly in economies that are dependent on tourism. 

Meanwhile, other countries in the region are showing greater resilience. Compared to other parts of the world, the Great Resignation had been a step behind in APAC—but, as of March 2022, it seems to be in full swing. In fact, 58% of workers in Australia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia are planning to leave their current job. The motivations behind these moves seem to be on par with workers in the West; some of the top reasons cited are lack of growth opportunities, salary dissatisfaction and concerns about their wellbeing.  

In Australia, the unemployment rate is at a record low of just under 4% as of May 2022, and it’s expected to drop even lower. However, the country is also experiencing an acute labor shortage: The closure of Australian borders during the pandemic meant that overseas migration to the country was negative for the first time since 1946. Pre-pandemic, one in 10 workers in Australia was on a temporary work visa. Then, as lockdowns went into place, hundreds of thousands of workers with temporary visas had to depart Australia—leaving a record number of jobs vacant. Accordingly, with only the local labor pool to pull from, unemployment dropped and vacancies soared, tripling in the retail and manufacturing sectors from 2020 to 2021.  

Then, in December 2021, the country’s borders reopened to students and migrants with visas, which is helping to fill positions—especially among casual jobs in retail and hospitality. Now, many Australian organizations are looking to new talent pools, including tapping into globally dispersed talent. As an example, PeopleScout recently helped a hospitality client take advantage of a visa strategy introduced to attract chefs to Australia’s tourism industry: Through a Recruiter On-Demand solution, we were able to source chefs in the United Kingdom who were willing to relocate.   

With a large and complex country, the knock-on effect of the pandemic on the Australian labor pool is still yet to be seen. Yet, CEOs in the country are optimistic, with 88% expecting growth in the Australian economy

Global Hiring: Key Takeaways for Employers 

global hiring

Shifting Demographics Affecting Talent Pools and Global Hiring  

Across APAC, many countries are facing labor shortages due, in part, to aging populations and the accelerated rate of retirement during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Gen Z makes up 25% of the APAC population—and they’re keen to have an influence. 

At the other end of the spectrum, a 2021 study from the Japanese government revealed that more than 40% of workers aged 60 and older wanted to continue working, with many citing their desire to stay busy and give back. Even so, experts project that Japan will face a labor shortage of 1.5 million workers by 2030, despite expanded workforce participation and advancements in automation.  

Meanwhile, in another part of Asia, India is experiencing a talent surplus: While most countries have seen a post-pandemic drop in unemployment, India is experiencing a decline in jobs, with an unemployment rate of more than 7.8% in April 2022. At the same time, the Indian workforce grew by 8.8 million people in April; so, even with unemployment dropping, available jobs are still not enough to satisfy the demand for work.  

In 1991, the Indian government made sweeping reforms to its industrial and trade policies, which led to greater foreign investment due to its youthful population. As a result, India went from a primarily agricultural economy to a services-led economy with a boom in IT-related jobs. Consequently, there are now fewer lower-skilled jobs to absorb the large number of unskilled or low-skilled workers.  

Moreover, the vast majority of jobs in India are informal: Just more than 2% of Indian workers are in secure jobs with access to benefits like retirement savings and healthcare. Therefore, these high unemployment numbers could be influenced by the number of educated young people who can afford to remain jobless while they find desirable work, rather than take low-paying positions. On the other hand, the poor—who have limited access to education—are forced to take any work they can get, which often involves pursuing unstable, daily-wage laborer roles in manufacturing and construction. 

Key Takeaways for Employers Exploring Global Hiring and Recruitment

recruitment agencies in australia

Tech Investment is Up, but Women are a Missed Opportunity 

The technology sector is having a significant influence on global hiring strategies and talent trends in the APAC region: India is home to the largest tech companies, like Wipro, Infosys and HCL. The growth of the Indian IT industry has also created more than 16 million jobs that drive the digital transformation for global enterprises offshoring their IT and R&D functions to take advantage of India’s less-expensive software talent. To keep up with the demand for tech talent, STEM university grads have more than doubled in India. Yet, despite IT being a top interest for 21- to 25-year-olds, there’s still a talent shortage.  

What’s more, with global enterprises embracing Indian talent, the country has also become a gateway to other markets in Asia. Now, $1 of every $2 in global investment goes to companies in Asia, some of which is fueling their own talent pools. For example, tech giant Apple has committed to building three Developer Academies in Indonesia, which will each produce 200 iOS developers annually. 

Meanwhile, as a long-time leader in innovation, Japan’s high-tech and renewable energy sectors are the most profitable industries in the country. As a result, the Japanese education system is now adjusting to keep up with the demand for digital and software skills: In 2020, computer programming languages were introduced to elementary curricula. However, not all countries in APAC are stressing technology education. In Australia, only 3,000 to 4,000 IT graduates enter the workforce each year, which won’t meet the need for 156,000 new technology workers by 2025 to ensure that economic growth is not stalled by skills shortages. 

Any company looking to remain competitive—especially those in the manufacturing or technology sectors—must emphasize becoming a top employer in APAC. And, one talent pool they could look to attract in Asia is women. Diversity and inclusion is one area where the wide variety of cultures across APAC shows itself, but the region scored highest on the importance of maintaining gender roles. Of course, it varies from country to country but, in patriarchal societies like Japan and China, females are often underrepresented in the workplace due to traditional views about women taking care of the home, rather than contributing to the household income.  

Unfortunately, the tech sector will suffer the most from this, with men making up 84% of STEM graduates in Japan alone. Conversely, companies that invest in reskilling and upskilling women—while also providing flexible work arrangements—will reap the rewards when it comes to attracting and retaining female talent. Indeed, research from McKinsey shows that Asia Pacific could add $4.5 trillion to annual GDP in 2025 by closing the gender employment gap.  

Key Takeaways for Employers 


Despite the challenges of COVID-19 and changing demographics, corporations in the APAC region have showed resilient, expanding profits throughout the last decade. And, enticed by the large global hiring and labor market trends, leading organizations are investing in the talent pools of APAC as a means of future-proofing their workforce.  

However, the complexity of the region also means that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for recruitment in APAC. So, increasingly, global enterprises are turning to recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). According to Everest Group, Asia Pacific is the fastest growing region for RPO and is set to make a swift recovery; finding the right RPO partner in APAC can help you navigate the region’s unique talent market conditions—and capitalize on the growth it offers.  

Learn more about how RPO can support your global talent acquisition strategy, download our free Buyer’s Guide to Global RPO.

Ghost Hunting: How to Keep Candidate Engagement Alive After Offer Acceptance

Candidate engagement after extending a job offer is now more important than ever, as employers across most regions are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of new hires who are ghosting on their first day: Data from Robert Half shows that 28% of professionals have backed out of a job offer after initially accepting it, thereby costing employers time and money on a job offer ghosted. 

In today’s candidate-driven market—and with the major influence that the pandemic had on the way people view work and personal life—it’s no surprise that candidates are receiving multiple job offers and thinking critically about what they truly want in an employer.  

Top 3 Reasons Candidates Backed Out of an Offer They’ve Already Accepted

Job offer
Source: Robert Half

With candidates in the driver’s seat, employers need to do everything they can to keep new hires from taking an early exit. So, in this article, we offer actionable strategies for your organization to do just that. 

Why Do Candidates Ghost?

With record numbers of job openings, job-seekers are more empowered than ever to be picky about the company they choose to work for. This means that candidates are likely interviewing with multiple companies at the same time—and they may not disclose it.  

At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for an immense digital transformation of the recruiting process, with everything from phone screens and interviews to offers and onboarding being conducted completely online. Of course, while this has made it easier and faster to apply to jobs (with “easy apply” options and text interviews the norm), it has also informalized the process and made it feel less personal than a face-to-face hiring journey.  

As a result, employers who rely solely on these technologies without establishing a human touch might struggle to build a more personal connection with candidates. Furthermore, because the majority of the hiring process now takes place online from behind a screen, it can be difficult for recruiters and candidates to build the same rapport that they would have when communicating in person; when you remove the investment that comes from traveling to meet someone in person and replace it with a simple click, the entire process can start to feel more transactional and less human. 

All of this can lead to poor communication overall, leaving candidates feeling like they might not need to provide any formal closure. According to Indeed data, here are some of the consequences of ineffective communication with the recruiter or hiring manager:

Candidate engagement

And, not only is ghosting happening, but it also appears to be a rapidly growing trend: According to a 2021 survey from Indeed, 28% of job-seekers have ghosted an employer—a 10% increase from 2019 data—and 57% of employers believe it’s more common than ever before. 

It’s important to note that the same Indeed survey found that ghosting in the workplace is a two-way street, with 77% of job-seekers saying they’ve been ghosted by an employer. So, while ghosting has become a normalized part of the hiring process (with employers starting the trend and candidates catching on), there are some actionable steps that employers can take to avoid ghosting on both ends and help combat this rising trend.

Strategies to Keep Candidates Engaged After Job Offer Acceptance 

In addition to the increasing likelihood that candidates will renege on an offer, employers should also keep in mind the various notice period requirements in countries around the world, which could be anywhere from two weeks to six months, in some places. Clearly, half a year is an incredibly long time to keep someone engaged and excited about your business, especially when that candidate is exploring other offers and evaluating the benefits of each. So, how can you do it? Consider the following: 

Focus on Employer Brand 

It should come as no surprise that keeping candidates engaged after they accept an offer starts with the work that’s done prior to them even applying; maintaining a powerful employer brand is key to keeping candidates with you throughout the entire hiring process. More precisely, when a candidate receives a competing offer or a compelling counteroffer from their current employer, is what your company offers going to be enough to keep them from changing their mind?  

To that end, it’s important that your organization presents itself—on social media, employer review sites and your careers site—in a positive light. You’ll want the candidate to be reminded of the value you offer—whether that’s in the form of benefits; flexibility; growth opportunities; diversity and inclusion initiatives; or otherwise—everywhere they look. The mental picture a candidate keeps of you in the back of their mind (or when someone mentions your company’s name) is make or break when it comes to them following through on an offer acceptance and showing up for day one. 

Make Open Communication Standard 

Lack of communication is one of the top reasons candidates ghost after accepting an offer, so establishing strong, open lines of communication from the start can make a huge difference in how the hiring process plays out. For example, encourage recruiters and hiring managers to communicate with candidates frequently by keeping them informed of their application status, providing updates on next steps and simply checking in to see if candidates have any questions. This can help build a sense of familiarity and rapport that is often lost when recruiters only communicate when absolutely necessary. 

Your organization can also stand out from others by candidly asking candidates where they are in the hiring process with other potential employers. Then, depending on your recruitment timeline, you can adjust key interviews and deadlines to avoid losing your candidate to a competing job offer. A personalized offer letter for job candidates will place you ahead of competitors. This will also help you get an idea of whether your candidate is entertaining other offers that they may be more interested in overall; then, even if they do accept an offer from you, this can help you be better prepared for the possibility that they’ll renege and accept a position elsewhere. 

Finally, the key is to maintain that line of communication even after the candidate has accepted an offer; if you ghost your brand-new hire, they’ll be more likely to ghost you in turn. 

Get the Offer Out Fast 

The more time your hiring process takes, the more time candidates have to consider taking other jobs. You’ve received a verbal offer acceptance; that’s great. Now, the time it takes for you to get official paperwork out and signed is critical. Engagement levels are highest at this point, and it’s critical that you get the offer out before the candidate has the chance to get cold feet.  

If possible, get all of your organization’s internal approvals finalized prior to your verbal offer so that the official written offer can be sent almost immediately. If your organization has a lengthier process that cannot be shortened, then be sure to communicate that to the candidate so their expectations are set accordingly.  

Utilize Thoughtful Touchpoints 

Perhaps most important, maintain frequent communication with the candidate during the period between offer acceptance (whether verbal or written) and day one. This can include messages of congratulations from the hiring manager and anyone else they may have met and interviewed with during the hiring process. 

Additionally, consider pairing your new hire with a current employee who can help them prepare for their first day. Or, in smaller organizations, set up a one-on-one meeting with a key leader to welcome them to the company. This can help the candidate feel connected to the team before they’ve even officially started—and will help keep the organization front of mind. 

Redefine Onboarding & Start Immediately 

When competing with multiple offers and long notice periods, beginning your onboarding process before the new hire officially starts can be a great way to keep them engaged and feeling like they’re a part of the team. For instance, if you’re in an office, consider sending your new hire a video tour or inviting them in for a real one. Or, if your team is planning to get together for an in-person or virtual happy hour, invite the new hire to join. 

You can also send your new hire more information about your company, culture, employee resource groups and more to help them start feeling like a part of the team. Plus, what better way to foster a sense of connection and pride than by sending a welcome kit and some company swag? Finally, encourage the new hire’s colleagues and manager to reach out frequently to check in and express excitement for them to officially get started on the team. 

The Whole Job Offer Package 

Essentially, candidate experience is really about the whole package—from establishing a strong employer brand all the way to onboarding. How you present your organization—as well as how it’s perceived by the public—is paramount. Moreover, remaining front of mind for candidates throughout the entire hiring process (and especially post-offer) is critical so as not to lose them to competing offers or a change of heart. In today’s market, employers can’t afford to slip and miss any opportunity for communication, connection and engagement. 

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis – May 2022

U.S. employers added 390,000 jobs in May. This beat analyst expectations and shows continued strength despite the concerns of some economists. The unemployment remained at 3.6%. Year-over-year wage growth decreased slightly but remains high at 5.2%.

jobs report infographic

The Numbers

390,000: Employers added 390,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in May.

3.6%: The unemployment rate remained at 3.6%.

5.2%: Wages rose 5.2% over the past year.

The Good

After 12 straight months of greater than 400,000 monthly job growth, the 390,000 number is still good news. As CNBC reports, experts surveyed by Dow Jones had predicted just 328,000 new jobs. Despite concerns over an economic slowdown due to inflation, May’s numbers suggest that the job market continues to be strong. The labor force participation rate also increased to 62.3%, though it remains below pre-pandemic levels.

The Bad

While most sectors saw job growth in May, retail was the exception, shedding 61,000 jobs. The Washington Post reports that the shift comes as consumers have started spending less on goods and more on experiences like dining out and travel. (The leisure and hospitality sector again topped job growth with 84,000 new jobs.) The job market also remains tight, creating a tough market for employers. While wage growth has cooled slightly, it remains high.

The Unknown

As the Wall Street Journal reports, the Federal Reserve is now faced with the challenge of cooling inflation without tipping the economy into a recession. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told the publication last month, “There are pathways for us to be able to moderate demand, get demand and supply back in alignment, and get inflation back down while also having a strong labor market,” he said. “You’d still have quite a strong labor market if unemployment were to move up a few ticks.”

Asian American & Pacific Islander Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace

At PeopleScout, we are committed to providing you with information to help guide you on your DE&I journey. We aim to cover a wide range of DE&I topics, including issues regarding BIPOC, the LGBTQ+ community, gender gaps, people with disabilities and more. In this article, we cover the history and importance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and offer advice and recommendations for employers looking to build more inclusive workplaces for AAPI workers. 

Each year in the U.S., Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is observed during the month of May to recognize the many contributions and influence of the AAPI community to the history, culture and achievements of the U.S.  

Starting in 1979, this recognition was initially observed from May 4 – May 10 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In 1992, U.S. Congress officially annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. In 2009, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month was renamed to AAPI Heritage Month, as we know it today.  

AAPI Heritage Month is celebrated in May for two main reasons. The first is to commemorate the first known Japanese immigration to the U.S. on May 7, 1843. The second is to honor the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869—a construction that was largely aided by the labor of over 20,000 Chinese workers. 

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made a lasting impact on the history of the U.S. and will no doubt be just as instrumental in its future accomplishments and successes. But are these Americans receiving the recognition, respect and inclusion they deserve?  

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of which ethnic groups are included in AAPI, discuss barriers this group may face in the workforce and share actionable steps your organization can take to foster inclusivity among AAPI employees. 

Who are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders? 

According to the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, AAPI can be defined as “all people of Asian, Asian American or Pacific Islander ancestry who trace their origins to the countries, states, jurisdictions and/or the diasporic communities of these geographic regions.” 

Let’s break this down further. While keeping in mind that personal identifications can be complex and often overlapping, with not all Asian people identifying as American, and depending on one’s background and upbringing, consider this list of terms to help keep track of who might fall into the larger AAPI community: 

  • AAPI: Asian American and Pacific Islander. This term generally includes all people of Asian, Asian American or Pacific Islander descent. 
  • Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia or the Indian subcontinent. 
  • East Asian: A person of Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean or Mongolian descent. 
  • South Asian: A person of Indian, Bangladesh, Sri Lankan, Nepali or Pakistani backgrounds. 
  • Southeast Asian: A person of Filipino, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Lao, Indonesian, Thai or Singaporean descent. 
  • Central Asian: A person with origins in the original peoples of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. 
  • Pacific Islander: A person with origins in the original peoples of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia. 
  • West Asian: A person with origins in the original peoples of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates or Yemen. 

There is immense diversity among members of AAPI heritage, and their ancestry and origins vary across the U.S. Here are visuals of the top ancestry groups and top countries of birth for AAPI immigrants based on research from the New American Economy

AAPI meaning
asian american diversity

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Workforce 

While the Asian American population is growing faster than any other group in the U.S., the same cannot be said for the rate at which this group is promoted into positions of leadership in organizations across the country. 

  • According to data from the EEOC, white-collar Asian American workers are the least likely group to be promoted into management roles—less likely than any other race. 
  • According to Bain & Company, while 9% of the professional workforce in the U.S. identifies as Asian, only 2% of CEOs do. 
  • The AAPI community suffers from high levels of income inequality, with AAPI workers in the top 10% of the income distribution earning nearly 10 times what AAPIs in the bottom 10% do.  
  • Insider shares a 2020 analysis of the C-suites at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies, finding that just 5.6% of the total executives in the study identified as Asian or Indian. 
asian demographics

So, what’s the reason behind these massive gaps? In a nutshell: stereotypes.  

AAPIs have often been mislabeled the “model minority,” a term that stems from a New York Times article published in 1966 which praised Japanese Americans for overcoming prejudice, respecting authority, achieving academic excellence and “subordination of the individual to the group.” And according to CNBC, the model minority myth “also paints Asians as a monolith, when in fact some 23 million Asian Americans trace their roots to more than 20 countries in East and Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.” 

Over the years, this description has come to stereotype all AAPI people as hardworking, smart, well-educated and faithful to their superiors. However, there are pitfalls to this idea—by placing Asian Americans on a pedestal for minority success in America, we have inadvertently made circumstances far worse for this community.  

By characterizing this group as having a higher level of “success” than the typical immigrant or other racial/ethnic group, it glosses over and seeks to erase the struggles, barriers and different challenges and experiences AAPIs face. Moreover, the same descriptors that have come to define “model minority” have also deemed this group unfit for leadership roles and promotions, due to a perceived lack of creativity, ambition and confidence—painting AAPIs as submissive and not “leadership material.” 

What’s more, new research finds that Asian employees report feeling the least included of all demographic groups in the workplace, including Black and LGBTQ+ workers. This research from Bain found that only 25% to 30% of employees across all geographies, industries, and demographic groups say that they feel fully included at work, with only 16% of Asian men and 20% of Asian women feeling the same. 

aapi meaning

Strategies to Foster AAPI Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 

Spread Awareness  
Because AAPIs have for so long been characterized as the “model minority,” non-AAPIs may not realize the extent of the barriers to which this group faces daily in the workforce. Employers should spread awareness of the leadership gap AAPI workers face and fold AAPI-related topics into organizational diversity and inclusion efforts. This can include bias training and learning programs to help make stakeholders and employees aware of the distinct obstacles facing AAPI workers. 

Target Recruitment 
The first step in building a diverse workforce is ensuring your organization is inclusive of all types of people—including AAPIs. According to the EEOC, one of the most common barriers for AAPI employees and applicants is a lack of targeted recruitment. Employers can combat this by establishing targeted recruitment plans that include goals and deadlines for attracting AAPI candidates, and by partnering with universities and organizations with a high percentage of AAPI students or professionals looking to advance in their careers. Organizations should also be sure to monitor and modify the plan as needed. Talent technologies like PeopleScout’s Affinix can help make this process simple with diversity dashboards that track progress toward specific goals. 

For more on diversity recruiting strategies, check out this PeopleScout article: The Future of Diversity Recruiting: Reevaluating Traditional Methods & Questioning Accepted Wisdom

Invest in AAPI Growth and Development 
For employers looking to diversify their leadership, developing a program that specifically invests in AAPI employees is a great way to start. Consider identifying top-performing individuals and providing them with opportunities to demonstrate their leadership abilities (i.e., more responsibility, a big project, presentation, etc.). Organizations can also provide these employees with mentorship and designated training paths to encourage promotion and growth. 

Create Employee Resource Groups 
Employee resource groups, or ERGs, are a great way to help employees within an organization build community and share a common cause—such as interests, backgrounds and identities. An ERG focused around AAPIs can help these employees feel at home within an organization and can also serve as a community for non-AAPIs who want to learn more about the experiences of this diverse group. ERGs are also a great way to improve retention rates, because when employees truly feel included, they are more likely to stay at an organization.  

At PeopleScout and the broader TrueBlue organization, we are proud to have the Asian Collective of Employees (ACE) ERG, a trustworthy forum where AAPIs and allies can share ideas, perspectives and professional experiences, to accelerate business and career growth, and increase cultural awareness. 

Elevate AAPI Voices 
With a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes following the COVID-19 pandemic, AAPIs were abruptly reminded that their sense of belonging in a predominately white society is often conditional. And with the Stop AAPI Hate National Report finding that businesses are the primary site of discrimination at 35%, organizations can make a powerful impact by addressing and acknowledging incidents and offering open forums for discussion among employees. By amplifying AAPI voices and perspectives, AAPI employees will feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, feelings and experiences in a safe space while knowing their employer cares. In addition, organizations can host speaker events featuring AAPI leaders and top performers within the company to highlight contributions and allow other AAPIs to see examples of success within the workplace. 

Celebrate AAPI Month 
AAPI month is a great opportunity for organizations to celebrate AAPI heritage and contributions and show employees that their unique cultural differences are valued. Consider these ideas for celebrating AAPI Month within your organization: 

  • Host an AAPI author book club 
  • Order lunch from a local AAPI restaurant 
  • Raise funds for an AAPI nonprofit 
  • Host an AAPI history and trivia night 
  • Spotlight AAPI employees on internal channels 

Asian American DE&I as a Continuous Journey 

The U.S. continually becomes more diverse, and so do organizations and the people in them. For organizations to stay competitive, diversity, equity and inclusion are non-negotiable. A truly diverse company will include people from all backgrounds at all levels of the organization—including in leadership roles. And when candidates and customers see that level of diversity, they’ll be more likely to invest their time and resources with those businesses. 

However, diversity without inclusion does nothing for people nor businesses. In order to retain your diverse employees, you’ll need to understand who they are, celebrate their heritage and invest in their growth. It is our responsibility as employers to identify groups who need amplification in the workforce—like AAPIs—and to foster long-term inclusion, representation and respect.

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis – April 2022

U.S. employers added 428,000 jobs in April, marking a full year with monthly job growth above 400,000. The unemployment remained at 3.6%. Year-over-year wage growth remained high at 5.5%.

jobs report infographic

The Numbers

428,000: U.S. Employers added 428,000 jobs in April.

3.6%: The unemployment rate remained at 3.6%.

5.5%: Wages grew 5.5% over the past year.

The Good

The New York Times reports that the U.S. economy has now regained 95% of the 22 million jobs lost at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. All major sectors saw growth, with the largest growth in trade, transportation and utilities, and leisure and hospitality. The unemployment rate remained near record low levels for the second straight month.

The Bad

Despite all of the good news in April’s report, the labor force contracted for the first time in seven months as the labor force participation rate fell from 62.4% to 62.2%. This accounts for an estimated 363,000 people.

However, as MarketWatch reports, it may be a fluke in the household survey, which can be volatile, and the results are often revised in later months. Before April’s report, the labor force has grown by an average of 315,000 people each month over the last year. Additionally, the decline in the labor force was most significant in workers under the age of 25.

However, the labor force participation rate is still below pre-pandemic levels, which creates an additional challenge for employers. There are currently more open jobs than there are unemployed people.

The Unknown

The jobs report is a bright spot for the economy as inflation continues to cause issues for American families. As the Washington Post reports, the Federal Reserve increased its benchmark rate by half a percentage point with the hope of curbing inflation. While wage growth remains high, workers are actually seeing decreasing purchasing power as the war in Ukraine and continued pandemic-related supply chain issues continue to drive prices higher. Experts will be watching closely to see how the economy responds.