What’s in a Name? Inflation Spreads to Job Titles

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.”
from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

After reading that quote you could be forgiven for thinking Shakespeare had never even heard of Google algorithms, digital job boards and job search, long-term career development in a technology-driven world, corporate hierarchies or wacky job titles.

Actually, you’d be correct. If Shakespeare were alive today and in the hiring business, there’s little doubt he would take a different view and possibly write instead:

“What’s in a name? A Head of Creative

Named a Dream Alchemist smells like horse s**t.”

from Recruiter and Jobseeker by William Shakespeare

Wow, he’s good. And right. The sad fact is that “Dream Alchemist” has been used as a job title for what should properly be the title “Head of Creative”. It’s hard to say how many sad endings (or non-starters) this has seen, but who’d bet on Leonardo DiCaprio starring in the movie?

Here’s the problem(s).

Self-Indulgence vs. Success

The crazy job title named above is, as stated, real. And in real terms it’s purely self-indulgent; an indicator of the brand type and company culture (perhaps). It’s so self-indulgent that, as pointed out in a previous article, it gives zero thought to the fact no jobseeker on earth would type it into a search bar when looking for the job it represents.

So there’s that.

How well your favorite search engine picks up on the broader context of the job description and renders it in results for the actual title search is another question. Many experienced professionals could well be embarrassed by the thought of having such a title applied to them – or having it take pride of place on their resume.

Let’s consider the following:

  1. Job titles should be helpful to those seeing and hearing them.
  2. There’s a time and a place for everything.
  3. Enforced jollity starts to grate on people after a while.

Aside from potentially stopping job posts being visible to many job seekers, the down-to-earth approach to job titles achieves two additional objectives:

  1. Instantly describe the area of expertise required.
  2. Instantly describe the hierarchical level within the department/company.

All good points, all lifted from a previous article linked above. So why not do a quick update and republish the older article? Because – as if you can’t guess – things have since become worse in a way that’s complicated enough to merit a new one.

Still, before we get into that…

Take Our Test

All the following job titles are real. They’ve all been proudly put out there by people who ought to have known better, but didn’t. We’ve already given you the answer to the first of them above, to help tune you in. Can you guess the regular titles for the others?

  1. Dream Alchemist
  2. Chief Chatter
  3. Wizard of Light Bulb Moments
  4. Part-Time Czar
  5. Grand Master of Underlings

Easy, right? (Answers at the bottom.)

The (Job Title) Inflation Situation

So here’s where it gets worse. Self-indulgence causes its own problems, pointed out in basic terms in the article so far. But it is what it is: transparently mindless and in direct conflict with logic — so the problems that wacky job titles cause in various areas of hiring are easy to pinpoint.

Job title inflation, however, is something else.

Economic inflation is on everybody’s minds right now: Will it turn into recession? If so, will we dodge the bullet in 2022 and see mild/wild recession in 2023? Are we on the verge of a massive collapse that could throw everything into chaos? Powerful questions with the usual “time will tell” answer plastered across them.

But the job title inflation question is very much one for today — we are, after all, still at an unemployment rate of 3.6%, near the half-century low achieved in 2020 — and The Great Resignation still looms large, with employee retention top of mind across most industries.

Job title inflation is a retention tool.

It all started before today’s problems kicked in, with startups solving their compensation limitations by handing out titles that gave a sense of achievement and importance. Some of the titles, as shown above, were sillier than others, but they were created primarily as a retention strategy – the low compensation public promotion and flash title.

However, any inflated job title that doesn’t sound like a joke is a unique problem.

Congratulations! Job hop to another company and it’ll look like a demotion. Or you’ll find yourself in a position you don’t have the qualifications or experience to actually do.

It also turns hiring into a time-consuming mine field for recruiters.

Hiring teams are placed in a spot where they are forced to look beyond job titles and into the actual experience of the individual. Anything about leading teams? Growing teams? Actually directing anything?

Still, who said hiring teams don’t love a challenge? (Answers on a postcard, please.) 

For the companies indulging in job title inflation, there are many potential problems. Who gets these inflated titles and why? What do all the other employees make of this? How long have any of these people been with the company?

How do the team hierarchies function? Is somebody with a “director” title actually now the head of a specific team? Or across teams for specific projects? Or is that person actually still an individual contributor?

If so, is everybody that person reaches out to aware of this? Is the person with the new title aware of this? If not, how quickly can we assume a move from complimentary name-calling to total chaos?

The less silly inflated job titles are, the more serious these questions become.

Companies who find themselves living with chaos as a result of inflated job titles place themselves in a position where they have to backtrack, potentially losing outraged or humiliated employees into the bargain.

Did somebody mention retention?

Stopping Superficial Solutions


It’s difficult to believe that inflated job titles started out as anything other than a joke; a kind of brand extension across teams. It’s also hard to avoid the reality of what the practice has become for many companies and how badly it can backfire for both employers and employees.

So it needs to stop.

Any job titles should be questioned in terms of how the title functions within the hierarchy, and what experience and/or qualifications it requires. If it appears that employees are being handed out managerial or other high-level titles without objective justification, the potential toxicity of the move should be pointed out.

For example, if an employee is hired into an managerial position, or moved up into one, all employees should be notified about that change and what it means for them in terms of professional relationships and teamwork.

If that isn’t deemed necessary, there’s a problem.

If, by making it less desirable for one person to leave, a company makes it entirely desirable for others to leave, that is a massive fail. And the potential downsides of inflated job titles are so destructive for individuals, teams, and companies, you can guarantee the desired upside has much better ways of being achieved.

Possibly any other way.

Answers: 1. Head of Creative; 2.Call Center Manager; 3. Marketing Director; 4. Assistant Manager; 5. Deputy Manager. See complete list.

Pat Brien is the Senior Co-Director of Shakespearean Strategy for Starbound Success (and you’re not).

Inflation Nation: Preparing for the Big Pop?

Man in suit holding needle over yellow balloon, a moment before bubble burst. Isolated on white.

The good news is that the labor market remains strong, with companies across most industries focused on solving the hiring/retention issue and finding real talent to fill seats and bring their expertise to the table. However, the tech downturn that came after Big Tech lost over $1 trillion in value over three trading sessions and stuck out like a sore thumb, now appears to be spreading to other industries as inflation hits and The Great Resignation refuses to quit.

Big Tech as Influencer?

To say that what is happening right now is unusual is a major understatement. From tech companies being driven, pushed, and cheered on toward rapid growth, to stopping in its tracks and becoming focused on staying resilient during an economic upheaval, the industry has moved from hyper-evolution to high-alert survival status.

Those storm clouds are now moving across other industries, including retail marketing, insurance and consulting. Recruiting services are also, obviously, withdrawing offers. Real estate brokerage Redfin Corp has rescinded job offers in recent weeks. Despite this, the labor market remains strong. Unemployment stills stands near the half-century low it reached in 2020 at 3.6 percent.

Do these companies know something we don’t?

Well, we all know about inflation. We know we’re living in an incredibly unstable time, which means the bottom line is business forecasting. The experts relied on to make informed predictions about future economic scenarios, upon which decisions can be made, cannot pretend to have any great confidence in things going one way or the other.

Or to what degree.

Trying to predict the next 12 months from an economic standpoint isn’t possible; at least, not with any degree of confidence. The most worrying part — possibly — of rescinded job offers is that they show us clearly that businesses are quickly undoing decisions made only weeks before, as if a panic button was pressed that instantly changed everything.

This shocking turnaround is, unfortunately, an objectively conservative action: batten down the hatches to maximize durability against a potentially devastating storm. An old story of survival.  The irony is that, although this wave appears to be growing larger and building beyond the tech industry, most employers across most industries still can’t find enough workers.

The competition for talent is actually growing, according to Gartner. Voluntary turnover is set to rise almost 20 percent by the end of 2022 to a massive 37.4 million. While tech and other companies batten down the hatches as a survival strategy, The Great Resignation itself is holding its position at a steady pace.

In fact, Gartner is still helping businesses by recommending optimized strategies, such as:

  • Signing bonuses – address key talent gaps
  • High-level benefits – including retention bonuses
  • Decouple pay/location – optimize hybrid/remote by decoupling pay and location

It does feel strange, of course, to so easily step between two different worlds that exist in the same period of time, as if moving easily into an alternative universe, then stepping back. But here and there is where we are. Whether job seekers are able to position themselves in the right one is a question for them to answer — so far, from a big picture perspective — the odds are massively in their favor. 

The question of whether one will come to dominate the other remains to be seen. It’s all a matter of time.

Speaking of which…

Recession and the Four-Day Week

“Time and money” is a phrase we all know. And time always comes first. Internationally, 4-day week experiments are taking place right now, with a view to changing the way we live and work forever. The US trial started on April 1 and is set to last six months. Whether that date indicates it will turn into one big joke also remains to be seen.

How inflation will impact and spread the “batton down the hatches” mentality across industries is something to watch for. The question of how it will effect the idea of the 4-day week (on full pay), is also interesting. Perhaps most interesting is how inflation will impact The Great Resignation as more companies demand that workers return to the office.

It does seem like the key ingredient in a perfect storm.

Now may be the perfect time to offer time to employees, from a competitive viewpoint. The more flexibility the better. Once people have been given something and get used to it, taking it away can cause problems. 

Amazon announced its intent to “return to an office-centric culture as our baseline” to its corporate employees on March 31st. By June 10th, it had backtracked the decision, with corporate workers no longer required to return to the office even three days a week.

Things are changing quickly in confusing ways.

Elon Musk – certainly not recognized publicly as a Luddite – is demanding workers return to the office 40-hours per week. Only “high-power employees” should be allowed the luxury of working remote, apparently. This comes as inflation soars and may be seen as a major slap in the face to employees. It also raises the question:

“Are you sure technology can drive our cars for us when it can’t even facilitate optimized human communication?” Ironically, some are predicting that Elon’s “back-to-office” order will be a train wreck.

Head of remote for Cimpress and Vista, Paul McKinlay, told Fortune that Musk was “on the wrong side of history” and predicted a mass resignation of employees at Tesla. Given inflation and all the uncertainty in today’s world, it’s understandable that some see the move as unnecessarily harsh and willfully tone deaf.

It’s All Coming to a Head – But Whose Head?

In general, it’s likely that belts will continue to tighten and freezes on hiring will continue to happen. If caught by surprise, to whatever degree, as with the tech industry recently, rescinded job offers may continue to spread. That must include any potentially vulnerable industry:

Retail, Restaurants and Bars, Leisure and Hospitality, Automotive, Oil and Gas, Sports, Real Estate, etc., could all be planning a defensive position against an upcoming recession.

In such a scenario, increased hiring may come to the Healthcare industry, Utility Workers, Accountants, Credit and Debt Management Counselors, Public Safety Workers, Federal Government Employees, Teachers and College Professors, Delivery and Courier Services, Pharmacists and Technicians, Public Transportation, Lawyers and Legal Professionals.

The usual suspects in the recession-proof stakes also include: 

Consumer Staples – people need certain items in their homes and will always prioritize them. Toothpaste, soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, dish soap, toilet paper, paper towels. Specific things are always in demand. And so to:

Grocery & Consumer Goods – Grocery and consumer goods/ discount retails always tend to do well in recessions, although they are not necessarily bullet-proof, especially if shortages happen and alternatives spring up; online, for example.

Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturing – the higher end of the market may suffer in a recession, but the cheaper end tends to do well when people are worried.

4. Cosmetics – these always do well and tend not to be affected by recessions: Keeping up appearances.

5. Death and Funeral Services – doesn’t change; may get busier.

Still, because competition for talent dwindles during a downturn or recession, there is less threat to the key talent companies need to keep. That talent sees what’s going on out there and is content to stick around – although the phenomenon of The Great Resignation no longer makes even that a sure bet.

Top investor Jeremy Grantham – who correctly predicted the 2000 dot-com bubble, the 2007 housing bubble, and even the 1989-1992 Japanese asset bubble – is now warning of a “super bubble” in US markets.

Grantham believes the BIG POP will wipe out over $45 trillion of assets in the US alone. He has been talking this way for over a year now, publishing serious warnings along the way, and believes we are now standing on the precipice.

Graham believes this, as an upcoming event, has moved from a possibility to a probability – leaning toward certainty.

Still, the law of averages say he’s got to be wrong sometime, right?

Either way, Ladders doesn’t provide financial advice, so put whatever you read into whatever context you can through your own efforts, get advice from professionals in the field, and step carefully.

Strange days indeed as a famous New Yorker once said.

The Closing Gap Between Passive and Active Candidates

Male hr manager holding magnifying glass head hunting choosing finding new unique talent indian female candidate recruit among multiethnic professional people faces collage.

The pre-pandemic annual average voluntary turnover rate was made up of 31.9 million employees quitting their jobs. This year, it’s likely to jump almost 20% to 37.4 million. According to the Gartner November 2021 survey, 52% of employees said that flexible work policies will effect their decision about whether to remain or move on; 16% stated they would be willing to quit if asked to work on-site full-time, while 8% said they would quit if asked to work partially on-site.

“New employee expectations, and the availability of hybrid arrangement, will continue to fuel the rise in attrition. An individual organization with a turnover rate of 20% before the pandemic could face a turnover rate as high as 24% in 2022 and the years to come. For example, a workforce of 25,000 employees would need to prepare for an additional 1,000 voluntary departures.”

Piers Hudson, Senior Director, Gartner for HR Leaders

Tough crowd.

With the hiring and retention issue hitting hiring teams so hard, it’s tempting to wonder what the expansion rate on “hard-to-fill” positions is right now, particularly when bringing retention into the equation. With that in mind, hiring teams need to continue playing smart, looking into opportunities that may not have existed pre-pandemic, and developing new approaches.

Let’s take a look.

What Turns Passives Into Active Candidates?

Look at the numbers above again. They represent a lot of professionals in real-world jobs across industries sitting out there right now. Would you describe them as “passive”? If so, be careful when approaching any of them with a good offer, as they’ll likely bite your hand off.

Those passives have been primed for action.

To blow Ladders’ trumpet, our 7 million highly experienced, highly qualified members are identified in our database as active or passive; even though, as stated, that may not matter as much as it once did. Either way, those candidates can be reached out to very quickly through Ladders Recruiter.

Ladders Recruiter Resumes are immediately visible — and legible — on the search page, with full member contact information at your fingertips. Switching between a larger view and back to the same spot you left on the search page is a two-click thing, if needed at all.

You can sell yourself on the idea of how much pain that removes from the process.

Obviously, while this is a boon if you’re hiring for a “tough to fill” position right now, it remains a boon if you’re building a pipeline for the long-term. Passive candidates have a green light for hiring projects and should be worked into your upcoming hiring strategies.

So thinking of passive candidates as pending candidates — who just need to be reached out to in conversation —  could be an effective way of turning the tables on The Great Resignation. Even with that, there’s a lot more you can do to make the “new normal” roll up its sleeves and start working for you.

And it’s quite simple.

Mandates for Candidates? Not So Much

Mandating on-paper qualifications as a prerequisite to employment, rather than seeking-out real talent yourself, is not the right way to adapt to the new realities faced by hiring teams. The less we impose on potential candidates, the more potential you have to fill positions over the short-term and the long-term. How does that work? Easy. Just lighten up a little.

Like this.

How many “must-haves” appear in your latest job posts? If candidates don’t check all the boxes, including formal qualifications and years of experience, are they automatically filtered out from the candidate pool? Why not make the formal qualifications a “nice to have” and think harder about what those years of experience actually mean, for example?

If that thought-power doesn’t instantly hypnotize the rest of your hiring team, tests can be easily applied to the application process. These provide real-world data for yourself and your team to work from. A little “show, don’t tell” added into the hiring process doesn’t have credibility because a third party says it does, it has credibility because you watch it happen and know it does.

Making a big difference in any assessment.

You also should be willing to balance the hard and soft skills a candidate has against the core needs of the position, questioning which areas could easily be dealt with through training. This can often be the case in areas like software for team collaboration, in which successful adoption is probably not a major obstacle. 

A small investment could provide fantastic ROI for retention.


Stability Through Flexibility

If remote work is possible at your company, you’re in a good place. (Pun intended.) The numbers at the top of the article stand out in terms of how strongly employees feel about flexible work, particularly remote or hybrid options. Not to mention the fact that remote-work-mad 2021 marked the most profitable year for American corporations since post-World War II.

So there’s that.

The Great Resignation remains in power and employers playing hardball with “back to the office” mandates face a potentially serious backlash. Internationally, six-month four-day week trials are underway, with thousands of participating companies and a huge amount of anticipation about restructuring the way we all work forever. Inflexible leaders, determined to show everybody who the boss really is, could be set to become dinosaurs.

Adapt and survive, if you like. The bottom line is simple: If you’re conducting a reach out campaign to passive candidates, for a company offering flexible work options, your chances of a fast and positive response shoot up; particularly, of course, if the recipient doesn’t have flexible work options, or doesn’t have anything as tempting as what you can offer.

Investments and ROI. Again.


Over and Underlooked People

From 2020 to 2021, the number of people with disabilities in employment went up from 17.9% to 19.1%, after a drop from 19.3% in 2019, as compared to a 2020-2021 rise from 61.8% to 63.7% rise for people without a disability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26% of adults in the United States have some kind of disability.

Once again, an investment in a reliable, qualified and experienced person with a disability could be another ROI boon for retention. Of course, everybody wants to make the right noises when it comes to championing people with disabilities — being patronizing always gets you applause in today’s world — but looking at what a person can offer as talent, as an expert, from a purely business perspective, could win your business a lot more.

And a remote work option is likely to give you a big boost in hiring and retaining this talent base. As an example, according to CNN, one Gabe Moses enjoys working his full-time call center shift while lying on his stomach on a mattress set on the floor of his apartment. His previous commute and long hours in an office often left him in pain and without the ability to speak.

Not good for somebody working in a call center.

There are many stories like that and others that make clear remote work isn’t a straightforward solution for every person with a disability. In less severe cases, for example, investments in special software needed to be made and many companies have risen to that challenge. Smart investments for great ROI is a recurring theme here, as it is in all business questions, and it’s highly likely to be the right answer to the hiring and retention question.

So who are the underlooked people?

They’re the people working in the companies you’re hiring for. Here’s the problem: People settle into a role, the boss is happy, everybody is happy. The person becomes that role. When it comes time to look for somebody higher up the ladder, the hiring team automatically looks outward, for that perfect fit, that shiny new expert.

And the person who knows the job inside out is invisible. Even though they’re supremely aware of all the inner quirks and idiosyncrasies of bosses, teams, systems, the flow, the go-to people, the stay-away-from people, the whole damn thing — making it much smarter to move such a person up and hire from outside for the position just vacated.

Or scratch your head when that person quits.

Never Mind the Gap

Given that we’ve all had a gap of some sort forced into our lives over the last two years, employment gaps are pretty much meaningless right now.

Gaps in resumes are abundant today. This is partly because many older, experienced professionals went into forced retirement during the pandemic. Many will return, if the incentives are right. And if hiring teams need reliable, experienced experts, not being a sap about a gap makes sense. Forced retirement aside, people were let go or furloughed left, right and center over the last two years, so let it slide.

Goodbye, gaps.

Wait — that’s the second gap closed in this article so far.

Something must be working.

Boom and Gloom: The Technology Downturn

3D rendering of a female robot looking sad and crying against a dark background.

While employment booms across industries, with employers adding even more jobs than anticipated in April – 28,000 above the Dow Jones estimate – the tech sector is showing serious signs of a downturn. Industry upswing stars include leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing.

So why is tech tanking?

Obviously, there are no prizes for anybody who has the correct answer. Lockdowns led to increasing numbers of consumers spending their time and their money online. The online world provided not only the best escape from a dreadful reality, but also a practical way to answer fundamental needs, like getting the shopping done.

Of course, that’s the simple version. Lockdowns affected everything, including the broader interests and investments of companies. Here we’ll look at companies that are either all out tech, or heavily invested enough at a core-offering level to be included.

The Great Resignation has left employers trying to find the best strategies to attract and retain new talent—often by throwing money at the problem—while tech is tightening its belt and layoffs in the industry are fast becoming an alarming trend.

Let’s take a look.

Business woman sits at her desk in a bright office, wearing a Virtual Reality headset with her hands up, touching thin air.
“This looks great! But I can’t find my keyboard.”

Metaverse Crashing to Earth?

Issues in the real world appear to have come full circle and kicked the metaverse in the purse, right where it hurts. On May 4th, Insider revealed a Meta internal memo stating that Facebook is freezing hiring and scaling back new talent acquisition across the company. Citing “challenges” that caused it to “miss revenue targets”.

Facebook’s global head of recruiting, Miranda Kalinowski, said—in a separate memo—that the company’s engineering team would be the first among those impacted. Facebook did freeze hiring at the beginning of the pandemic, but this was a sensible move, designed to give the company time to adjust and put new processes in place for health-aware onboarding.

This latest hiring freeze, on the other hand, is all about “our business needs and in light of the expense guidance given for this earnings period”—helped along by its Reality Labs division losing $2.9 billion in the first quarter.

Curse of the metaverse? Or barely a bump in the road? Speaking of which…

Man with a mobile phone watches as his Uber driver arrives.
“I can’t believe they still have to use real drivers.”

Uber Hiring U-turn

Uber is to slam the brakes on hiring after a “seismic shift” in investor sentiment, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced to employees in an email obtained by CNBC. Uber also plans to cut back on marketing and incentives spend. From this point forward, “We will be even more hardcore about costs across the board.”

He continued: “We have made a ton of progress in terms of profitability, setting a target for $5 billion in Adjusted EBITDA in 2024, but the goalposts have changed. Now it’s about free cash flow. We can and should get there fast.” Just like their drivers.

During the pandemic, Uber leaned heavily on its food delivery service Eats. After the lifting of COVID restrictions, revenue for Uber rose to 6.9 billion in the first quarter. The downside? A $5.9 billion loss during the COVID period, due to a slump in its equity investments.

Either way, Uber says: “We will be deliberate about when and where we add headcount.”

Animation showing Robin Hood in forest, holding bow loaded with arrow.
“Is it aim and fire or fire and aim? Tsk.”

Robinhood’s Aim

The original Robin Hood (Kevin Costner to you), was knocked spectacularly off balance at least once in his career. Likewise, retail brokerage Robinhood has announced it’s cutting 9% of a reported total of 3,800 employees. Shares fell more than 5% in extended trading after the announcement.

Rapid expansion last year somehow led to “duplicate roles and job functions”. Unfortunately, two heads were apparently not better than one and “these reductions to Robinhood’s staff is the right decision to improve efficiency, increase our velocity, and ensure that we are responsive to the changing needs of our customers,” according to CEO Vlad Tenev.

He added: “While the decision to undertake this action wasn’t easy, it is a deliberate step to ensure we are able to continue delivering on our strategic goals and furthering our mission to democratize finance.”

Woman using an indoor exercise bike with digital montior.
“I wish they’d make a real bike with a TV attached.”

Peloton in a Spin

Unable to bear the idea of running to stand still, Peloton cut around 20% of its corporate workforce – an estimated 2,800 people – and replaced its CEO, hoping a new lean look will impress investors and rejig its business for some muscular growth in the near future.

The announcement, which came earlier this month, followed rumors that the company could soon become the target of a takeover. However, the makeover news quelled much of that excitement, if not all of it. Many feel that Peloton will not escape that fate.

No matter how fast they peddle. Sorry, pedal. 

A Wall Street darling during the pandemic, the news in response to the announcement came with headlines like: “The Rise and Fall of Peloton” and phrases like “crash and burn”.

Still – no pain, no gain.

Terrible puns about the indoor-exercise success story aside, Barry McCarthy, former chief financial officer of Netflix and Spotify, is now the new president and CEO, while founder and former CEO, John Foley, is executive chairman of the board.

Most of the news since the announcement has been an exercise in things not working out: big borrowing, price slashing, stalled product production, and falling stocks – if people in high places are sweating right now, they appear determined to take the strain.

Peloton is going downhill, according to many key observers, but everybody remains fascinated by those spinning wheels. And they could get back in shape.

A male and female model step out of a limousine onto a red carpet.
“Vanity, vanity, all is… Ohh, nice dress!”

Cameo Yells “Cut!”

Cameo became a star after coming up with the novel idea of letting people pay their favorite actors, artists, athletes and celebrities to send them personalized video greetings. A crazy idea that hit big with the public, the company was valued at around $1 billion last year after gaining the attention of investors such as Amazon, Google, and UTA.

This month, it announced it was cutting approximately 25% of its workforce—87 members of staff in real terms, announcing a need to “right-size” the business after a pandemic-related reversal of fortunes.

Hit the reverse button back to 2020 and we see Cameo claiming the generation of around $100 million in gross revenue—4.5 times up on the previous year. Unfortunately, one-season-only shooting stars include high-flyers such as chief product officer, Nundu Janakiram, SVP of marketing, Emily Boschwitz, and chief technology officer, Rob Post.

Co-Founder and CEO, Steven Galanis, told Variety: “To support both fan and talent demand during the pandemic lockdowns, Cameo’s headcount exploded from just over 100 to nearly 400. We hired a lot of people quickly, and market conditions have rapidly changed since then. Accordingly, we have right-sized the business to best reflect the new realities.”

Some of the biggest stars in the world have found themselves on the cutting room floor, so this shouldn’t be the end of the story for anybody’s career. NEXT!

Contrasts and Questions

Contrasting the above with the rest of the economy is startling. In the world outside tech, employers are eagerly seeking new ways to attract and retain talent. The Great Resignation/Great Reshuffle continues to have a massive impact across industries: rising labor costs, inflation, and resignations are leaving hiring teams everywhere struggling to find their feet on continuously shifting ground.

Of the industry upswing stars highlighted at the start of this article, leisure and hospitality has had the biggest bounce back success, with job growth at 78,000. Does this signal that people are returning to their pre-pandemic habits, or that more people are learning to appreciate the “get up, get out there” lifestyle more than they did before it became prohibited? 

The tech industry skyrocketed during the pandemic and other industries suffered, so now the tables are turning. This is clear, so the real question is: How does it all balance out? If the issue can be readily identified, the tech industry can steer its way back to normalcy, right?

This isn’t Boom and Bust, it’s Boom and Gloom.

Or is it? 

Facing the Future vs. Facing Forward

As is often pointed out, tech industry trends are notoriously hard to track and analyze, because the business models are so specific to what they do and offer. Having said that, Ned Davis Research’s Veneta Dimitrova did analyze available data, including reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and concluded: “There doesn’t seem to be any leading tendency from that industry for overall employment growth.”

Then there’s inflation and the tightening of purse strings across the country. Amazon takes a hit in that respect. Back to the metaverse and we need to factor in Apple’s iPhone privacy changes, which impacted ad targeting—a potential $10 billion revenue hit—which is not to be sniffed at by anybody in this universe or, indeed, the metaverse.

If it was easy, we’d all be visionaries and business leaders, right?

Still, this places hiring teams in a bizarre world where everything is shifting with relentless speed, realities are either red hot or stone cold depending on needs, and each reality poses its own set of problems to be solved.

Ultimately, hiring managers with good recruiters on hand are always in a strong position. As mentioned in other articles, using experienced recruiters as talent advisors at the planning stages, rather than internal vendors to be issued tasks after the fact, could prove a winning strategy moving forward.

Of course, that depends on which direction you think forward is.

Good move, Netflix.”

Recruiters, The Great Resignation, and the Hiring (R)evolution

Open notebook on desk next to coffee, with the words "I Quit" written in lipstick and followed by a kiss mark.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” – Charles Dickens wasn’t thinking about 21st century recruitment when he wrote that famous line, but it’s a sentiment that fits like the perfect candidate.

And its retention rate is looking great.

Recruiter salaries, adjusted for inflation, had jumped 14% by the end of 2021 from the year before, according to Revelio Labs. High demand for jobs, driven by the pre-pandemic “job hopping” trend, soon joined by the “great resignation”, has greatly increased the need for talented recruiters and, at the same time, put them under tremendous strain.

How recruiters have coped with the seismic disruptions to our working lives over the last two years is anybody’s guess: Resilience? Ability to adapt? The famously focused mindset of the “fast on your feet” professional? Zero choice? (Other than to join the great resignation themselves?)

Either way, they weathered the storm courageously and have possibly created new opportunities in their own careers as a result. Well deserved, if it happens.

A collage of diverse people, all shown as smiling headshots, representing the challenge recruiters face when filling jobs.
So I’ll go with… erm. Hiring was never easy and recruiters are (hopefully) evolving.

Turmoil and Talent

The labor market, to be blunt, is in turmoil, and recruiters would be increasingly useful as professional advisors, or project managers, within hiring teams, from the earliest stages of hiring considerations.

Today’s recruiter certainly needs to advise companies on how to attract and keep talent. Established, growing and ongoing hiring and retention issues have created a gap in the market, with recruiters being the best qualified to fill it.

Questions arising around talent optimization internally, and the talent market externally, are the long-term stomping ground of recruiters. Why look elsewhere for answers? Instead of handing down requirement orders to be fulfilled, fulfilling recruiter potential by making them part of the initial discussions on requirements for roles, profiles, etc., could lead to great results.

Recruiters are your perfect fit talent advisor candidate. Own it.

Getting On Top of “Under Pressure”

The sheer pressure of skyrocketing competitiveness for talent, soaring hiring demand, and the need to adapt to – and adopt new ways to meet – new attitudes to employment expectations from candidates has been shocking in its power. To gain the upper hand, talent acquisition leaders have found themselves in a leading business position, central to selling the company brand, attracting the best talent, and increasing fast decreasing retention rates among companies.

The Ongoing State of Retention Rates

SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), published a report in 2021 stating that over 40% of American workers are either actively seeking a new job, or have plans to do so. There’s no need to point out how staggering this number is, and probably no surprise to state that the number doubled from 2019.

BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), states that 4 million people quit their jobs in July 2021. Resignations had peaked at 2.7% in both June and July 2021 — with a new record set for available jobs in the US at the close of July – 10.9 million.

In February 2022, 4.4 million people quit their jobs, but new hires moved up to 6.7 million, according to BLS, all of which only continues the new reality of “The Great Reshuffle”. There were an estimated 1.8 jobs for every unemployed person in February.

Choices, choices.

Reasons, Recruitment and Results

According to SHRM’s report, the top reasons given for leaving jobs by employees were:

  • Better compensation
  • Work-life balance
  • Improved benefits
  • Career advancement
  • Career change

The list indicates, at least in the top four, that employees were becoming unhappy in their jobs and seeing better opportunities elsewhere. The final item appears to imply a general feeling of restlessness; a need for change in a quickly changing world. After all, if the world is disrupted to the point where daily routines are battered or shattered, why cling to the same spot?

Why be tossed aimlessly around when you can leap in any direction by dint of will? 

It’s also possible that the first four in the list were heavily influenced by exactly the same feelings that gave rise to the final entry, which could sensibly raise the question: What seismic shift is coming down the pike next?

Outside of the finance industry, corporations have enjoyed their best profits for decades, so there is the opportunity to increase salaries and benefits to attract talent and gain long-term growth from the investment; but, like any investment, the question is: Will it pay off?

It appears so far that higher wages and better benefits aren’t attracting enough unemployed workers back into the workplace. Ironically, as this happens, the result is the offering of even greater pay, more offers of increased benefits, and so on.

And while the increased offers don’t appear to be getting those on the sidelines back into work, the result, for short-term survival, is more work loaded onto the shoulders of those still bothering to show up – until they can’t take it any more, leave, then find themselves being offered more money, more benefits, for jobs they’ve learned to hate.

Little wonder that manager burnout was bad and getting worse late into 2021.

A female contortionist types on a laptop on the floor, while doing a backbend that places her feet on the laptop in front of her.
Flexibility is everything… training not provided.

Flexibility Is Stability

The “throw money at it” problem-solution technique aside, many smart recruiters are becoming increasingly attuned to what candidates want – a shift in attitudes from candidates becoming a sharp shift in focus from the recruiter. Some are studying where people are leaving in high numbers, with a view to building relationships in those spaces.

Whatever is top of mind for that hard to get candidate tops the list for hiring and retention. What is top of mind for forward-thinking recruiters is candidate/employee experience, not checklists of demands skillfully completed.

And it’s entirely possible that flexibility rather than finance will be the winning card. In that sense, employers and employees may have common ground. The sharp rise in remote work in the first quarter of 2022 may indicate that employers, absent a crystal ball, want the most stable environment possible for long-term growth; and employees seem to want the same.

Flexibility is the new stability. Or the closest thing we have.

The Evolution of Hiring

Not surprisingly, many are now predicting that 2022 will get harder, not easier, with remote work choices and remote interviews making job change more accessible than it’s ever been, at least for those who still wish to work – meaning competition for jobs will continue to increase.

And organizing, hiring, training, encouraging and retaining talent in a remote world raises a lot of questions, and presents a lot of issues, in and of itself.

Just because the initial sense of urgency starts to die down as recruiters scramble successfully to adapt, doesn’t mean the recruiter’s job will become easier as a result.

It won’t – but what it should do is evolve.