According to the Generator Group’s 2008 Hiring Trends Survey, the housing market and fluctuating gas prices are having an increasing impact on companies’ ability to attract and retain key talent. 


Generator said 25% of the companies surveyed said that the economy was making recruiting more difficult; while 48% reported it had no impact. Taking into consideration growth and attrition, about half (52%) will hire zero to five new people in the remainder of 2008, the remaining half will hire more, and 11% will hire over 100 employees.

With depressed housing values and the mortgage crisis impacting the ability of many to relocate for career opportunities, survey respondents indicate that relocation remains the most common reason given when a candidate turns down an offer. Forty seven percent of respondents have encountered at least one to two candidates unable to relocate due to housing market issues, with 23% of respondents citing “commute too far” as a common reason given when a candidate turns down an offer.  This statistic is up significantly from 13% last year.  In addition, 55% of respondents state that “not willing to relocate” is one of their top challenges in recruiting strong talent. 

“It’s a challenge because southern California is extremely expensive when candidates are trying to sell a home somewhere else and buy one in our location,” said Jessica Clayton, who works on Patagonia’s HR team. “We definitely have had people that we have interviewed and, when it comes down to it, they have decided not to accept the position because the cost of living is too expensive in southern California.” 

With nearly one in five homeowners owing more to banks than their properties are worth, relocation will continue to be a trend affecting recruitment.

As companies consider new employees, the survey shows that the quality of hire and retaining key employees has increased in importance, as has reducing hiring costs. Respondents are seeing an increase in the volume of resumes vs. 2007 without a corresponding increase in quality.