The economic news is good. Maine’s economy is expanding. Consumer confidence is positive and causing cash registers to ring from Eliot to Estcourt Station and every town in between. So why are Maine small business owners not ecstatic?
According to a recent survey from The Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information, one-out-of three Maine small businesses has at least one job opening. The problem is, there are just not enough qualified or interested candidates to fill these vacant positions. Portland radio may offer the remedy to this new employment crisis.
Construction Trades Are Particularly Hard Hit
Matthew Marks, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of Maine, a trade organization representing many Maine construction companies, recently told the Bangor Daily News that some of his members are so busy they can’t handle all the work that’s coming their way.
“A local electrician is so busy he has actually taken the signs, the advertising off the sides of his van because the workload is so much right now,” he says. “So, it’s a good problem to have, but as we recover, you see that perfect storm coming.”
Carl Ward, CEO of Nickerson & O’Day Construction, explained to the BDN that his firm needs workers of all types and will provide training for some of the jobs. “I’m about 20 people short right now and I can’t find them,” he says. “The unemployment is now below four percent, we have had quite an economic renaissance in the last eight years, and skilled construction workers are pretty hard to find.”
Another company having trouble recruiting workers, according to the BDN, is Casco Bay Steel in South Portland, which fabricates steel structures such as bridge trusses. President Byron Tait says he has been competing for workers with companies in other states. “You do what you got to do to get good help,” he says. “It’s a tight market right now but we are looking for, we could probably hire 10 more people today if we could find qualified people.”
Portland Radio Delivers Qualified Job Candidates To Maine Small Business Owners
The good news for companies like Nickerson & O’Day and Casco Bay Steel is that there are plenty of qualified, skilled candidates for their open jobs. The bad news, these candidates are working for some other company. The worse news, these skill-rich candidates probably aren’t necessarily actively looking for a new job. These coveted workers are called PASSIVE JOB SEEKERS. The best news: There is a way to reach the passive job seeker: it’s not newspaper, and it’s not job boards. It’s radio recruitment advertising on Portland Radio.
To compel passive job seekers to switch companies, recruiters must find a way to talk to them. In the past, this could be done via display ads in local newspapers. But this tactic is now next to impossible. According to research company Media Audit, only 8.2% of newspaper readers ever open the classified section. And since overall newspaper circulation is precipitously eroding, the chances of a target candidate seeing a display ad is slim. The circulation of Maine’s Portland Press Herald/Sunday Telegram is emblematic of this decline, losing almost 35% of its audience since 2007.
Online Job Boards Do Not Attract Qualified Candidates
Peter Capelli, a management professor at The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania, told CBS Money Watch about a recent online posting for an engineering job. The post generated 29,000 responses. The company concluded, however, that none of the applicants had the necessary qualifications to fill the job. YIKES! Gabriel Shaoolian, chief executive of Blue Fountain Media, a Web design and marketing company with 85 employees in New York, told the New York Times that he has 10 openings right now because his company could not find enough highly qualified people with technical backgrounds. To fill those jobs, Mr. Shaoolian said his company had used online job boards like Monster.com and Craigslist over the last two years, but found the experience frustrating because most of the applicants were unqualified. “It was catastrophically bad,” Mr. Shaoolian said. In both cases, online job boards like Monster and Craig’s List attract low-value, active job seekers.
Radio Recruitment Works For Maine Small Business
Research from International Demographics reveals that employers are 31% more likely to reach the highly-qualified passive job seekers on the radio than in newspaper classifieds. And radio is 40% more likely to reach passive job seekers than internet job sites like monster.com or indeed.com. Wow!
Small businesses who use radio advertising to recruit and hire qualified candidates are finding great success. “It was actually one of the smartest moves we made,” says Ron LaFlamme, former Transportation Manager at Hannaford Transportation. Doug Martin, President of W.H. Demmons agrees, “Newspaper ads didn’t really do a lot for us. Online ads have been working a little bit. When we started on the radio we got a fairly quick response.”
The ability of radio to reach qualified job candidates in Maine embraces every type of industry and small business including manufacturing, retail, sales, construction, and accounting. Jeffery Verrill, Executive Vice President of Salt Associates, turned on the radio to recruit disability claim associates with at least two years of experience. After the first week of the campaign, Jeffery said the results were, “Dynamite! We got 12 responses. Three or four were qualified and we are expecting more.” Terry Skillin, owner of Skillins Greenhouses, said he experienced similar success using radio. “It was a three day campaign with amazing results.”
Doug Martin finds one other advantage of using radio as a recruitment tool. He says, “We call them recruitment ads, but they do accomplish more than recruiting. They get our name out in the community and that’s very beneficial for us.”