Software engineers and truck drivers may not have a lot in common at first glance, but they both share a common distinction that’s affecting businesses worldwide: they’re working in industries that are experiencing a significant talent shortage. Across the globe, employers are locked in a heated battle to attract, hire and retain employees to power the 21st-century workforce.

Concerns over a lack of talent are now top of mind for organizations around the world. A recent Gartner survey found that CEOs globally consider the current talent shortage to be the top emerging risk for their companies. Outpacing other major business risks like privacy regulations and the current pace of change, the talent shortage is a key concern for more than two-thirds of respondents across several key industries, including financial services, government, and manufacturing.

Keeping your organization competitive means focusing more than ever on attracting and retaining skilled workers. Combat the global talent shortage with these five unique strategies:

How to combat the talent shortage:

  • Find local talent by identifying incubators and talent hubs, typically situated near local universities
  • Develop a comprehensive strategy to recruit college graduates for entry-level roles
  • Prepare internal candidates for new and future job openings
  • Build talent communities to stay connected to talent interested in your organization
  • Streamline your recruitment process to reduce overall time-to-hire

Explore local talent hubs

From financial service companies in New York City to technology incubators in Silicon Valley, many cities are known for a certain industry and therefore attract specific types of talent. But actuaries and engineers don’t just live in these two cities: many are elsewhere across the United States, ready to be plucked for a new opportunity.

Cities like South Bend, Indiana have established their own unique business hubs, keeping tech talent like business analysts, data scientists and software engineers connected on a local level. Incubators and hubs like these exist in cities big and small, many of which can be found in towns with a strong university or academic presence. Expand your search to new geographies that could place an army of qualified, enthusiastic talent at your disposal.

Target graduate talent

Building a talent pipeline that includes young job seekers is crucial for your organization’s long-term sustainability. Educated and ready to take on the world, recent college graduates are eager to make an impact on your organization, and have the skills required to succeed in today’s workforce.

A comprehensive campus recruitment strategy is key to addressing the talent shortage. And it’s never too early to start engaging students: a recent Yello recruiting study found that over a quarter of Gen Z candidates start looking for a job freshman or sophomore year. Whether you’re in need of a fast-tracked campus recruitment strategy or your existing program is in need of an overhaul, reaching out to the next generation of talent is one of the most effective ways to future-proof staffing needs.

Seek out internal talent

Filling open roles doesn’t always mean recruiting talent from outside the organization. Your current employees often make great candidates when new opportunities arise. They’re already familiar with your company, which allows you to cut back on onboarding hours, and recognizing high-performing employees with a promotion is a great way to improve retention. Recruiting internally also makes succession planning possible, accounting for the long-term stability and success of an organization.

Use every tool at your disposal to find high-performing employees with interesting and diverse backgrounds looking for a new challenge. An excellent communicator on a sales team, for instance, could have the skills to make a killer member of the marketing team.

Even when there aren’t any internal candidates who make sense for an open role, your current employees are still a great resource when you’re recruiting. Build a referral program to leverage your team’s personal networks when you’re faced with a talent shortage.

Build a talent community

Sourcing candidates starts well before an open role is available. Engage talent early and often by building a talent community: a pool of job seekers who are interested in staying up to date on your company and employer brand. Talent communities are a great way to keep candidates informed about future career opportunities and relevant company news, even if there are no available positions at the moment.

When positions open up, your company will have immediate access to a group of active candidates who have already expressed interest in working with your company.

Move quickly

Competing with other companies for skilled workers during a talent shortage means every minute counts in the recruitment process. Inefficiencies within your recruiting operations, like poor communication or a broken interview process, can add days onto an already-stressful process in which 81% of candidates expect hiring decisions to be made within two weeks.

Analyze your existing recruitment workflow and tech stack to identify opportunities for improvement. Mobile applications and text recruiting, for instance, allows candidates to apply for positions and stay in touch on the go, simplifying the recruitment process from the start.

Interview scheduling software can also reduce one of the most time-consuming aspects of recruiting, and cut down on repetitive administrative tasks. Finding simple ways to trim down the hiring process means you’ll be able to secure top talent before the competition.

While addressing the talent shortage may be your company’s biggest challenge this year, finding workers with the skills required to be successful in your industry doesn’t have to be an insurmountable task. By leveraging technology, engaging students who are just entering the workforce, and speeding up your hiring practices, your recruiting team can effectively compete with other employers to overcome the talent gap.