Q&A: TeamKC gives us a look inside the local job market

When will the dust settle? The job market in Kansas City never sits still for long. I’ve seen it all in my more than 20 years of client search experience. The job landscape continues to transition between having a surplus of candidates ready to make a career change, to having a surplus of positions to fill. The back-and-forth of the pandemic hiring market has made it more confusing than ever for both jobseekers and employers. For a clearer perspective, I asked Team KC with the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) how our local workforce is faring right now.

Are companies beginning to rebound from the effects of the pandemic?

The Kansas City area lost 122,000 jobs by April 2020. However, its job market is reviving much faster than the country as a whole, regaining every three out of four jobs lost during the pandemic.

“Currently, there are more than 42,000 job openings posted in the KC region, representing several industries across a range of skill levels. As of March 2021, the Kansas City metro area’s unemployment rate is 4.2%, which is well below the national unemployment rate of 6.2%.”

While some industries struggled to stay afloat, others were thriving over the whirlwind that was 2020. We found that e-commerce, distribution, logistics, technology and others didn’t appear to miss a beat. Professional sports, hospitality, travel are some examples of industries still in the recovery phase now. 

What are the top wants and needs from candidates right now?

Flexibility. That’s the number one thing on everyone’s wish list. While that is the case, the definition of flexibility may look different for every candidate and company. Other big-ticket items job seekers are looking for are transparency and communication from leadership.

 “Authentic leadership styles have proven to be invaluable over the past year. Candidates seeking new opportunities will be looking for something ‘better,’ and that can range from base salary to enhanced flexibility for work/life balance. Having leadership they can trust is a must.”

For some candidates, money is the driving factor. We found low salaries could be driving away tech talent from the area:

 “We’re hearing stories of developers working multiple full-time jobs for companies outside of KC, but living comfortably in our suburbs, while KC companies are struggling to secure tech talent. The lesson here? It’s in the money.”

How does TeamKC partner with staffing firms and area companies to attract talent to KC?

Working with companies like Morgan Hunter, we provide additional resources, including video content, virtual tours, web profiles and more to help candidates fall in love with Kansas City and the Heartland.

 “TeamKC: Life+Talent, an initiative of the Kansas City Area Development Council, works with talent acquisition teams at companies hiring in KC to help sell lifestyle assets in the region alongside a job opportunity.”

The team knows what the process looks like for candidates of every level, whether they’re a c-suite or an intern. In the midst of what they call “intern season,” we work closely with dozens of talent acquisition teams to help interns develop relationships across the region.

Do you see new hiring trends coming in 2021?

Hiring trends are not one-size-fits-all. While hiring trends do change depending on the industry, we found that flexibility is becoming just as important to employers as it is to jobseekers right now.

 “Most of the companies in Kansas City are looking at a more permanent hybrid approach to their workspaces, meaning most employees will be expected to be in the office on a regular basis – but not every day.”

The pandemic has driven the creation of more work-from-home positions. We found that employers are comfortable making those more permanent, but many still prefer employees to live near the office. Other, much larger, corporations have restructured their office spaces by transitioning to coworking spaces such as WeWork. It’s just one more way local employers are working to meet the needs of current candidates.

Find your next Kanas City Job

Finding the employer that fits your needs can be tough on your own. I can help navigate the ever-changing job market here in Kansas City. Sales, Marketing & Operations candidates: if you’re on the post-pandemic job hunt, I can help. Working as a recruiter, I connect candidates with employers who provide the big-ticket items TeamKC found to be a high priority right now, like flexibility and leadership you can trust.

Brian Price is division director for the Sales, Marketing & Operations division at Morgan Hunter, serving Kansas City-area employers to help them meet a range of hiring needs, from temporary staffing to direct-hire placements. Share your thoughts on Facebook, LinkedIn or on Twitter @MorganHunterCo.