What’s not to love about New Hampshire, especially this time of year with the leaves in all their splendor and days where the sun is still radiating heat? Well, some might say a particularly tight labor force, especially in the high tech sector, when you are trying to grow a business.
As the list of new open positions continues to dwarf the number of filled positions in our organization, we have had to pause and evaluate the macro-environment. In April, the New Hampshire unemployment rate was 2.6 percent, the lowest in the nation. By August it stood at 2.9 percent, still significantly below the national average of 5 percent. And although the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies has stated that high tech and advanced manufacturing are the “Strongest engine of economic activity in New Hampshire,” according to the NH High Tech Council 78 percent of existing high tech companies report a “moderate” or “significant” shortage of skilled workers. And those in highest demand are exactly the kind of talent we are trying to find: software developers, computer systems analysts, and computer user support specialists, among others.
But has this made our outlook on New Hampshire as the right place to build a company soften? Not at all. In fact, nationally the challenges are not all too different, with time to fill metrics increasing across the board. We know this to be true as we are experiencing the same challenge in our Pennsylvania offices.
So what strategies can a company employ? First, we know we have to continue to tell our story. Our brand isn’t solely for communicating to clients, and it is not merely an image we want to portray – rather, it is a direct reflection of our ethos. It is about solving important healthcare challenges, improving lives, and doing so as a team. With so many options to choose from, we need to stand out among our peers, and transparency into the daily work environment and members of the team is an important way to do so. Our #FacesofGeneia campaign is just one way that we work to get our personal messages out, so candidates understand they aren’t just a number at our organization.
Second, we need to develop strong partnerships for feeder systems to bring in new talent and identify mid-career candidates and unconventional graduates for our organization. In New Hampshire, that means relationships with the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Manchester campus, ties to UNH Durham campus for feeder programs, and with Southern New Hampshire University. It also means participating in an advisory capacity to ensure programs continue to keep up with business needs, presenting on campus to student cohorts, and working with faculty to identify candidates that will be the right fit.
Finally, we are committed to continue telling the story of the New Hampshire advantage to our prospects — high quality of life, high health indicators, proximity to Boston, the seacoast, the lakes and the mountains, and no state income tax. The labor market might be tight – but we are proud to be part of a tech sector that contributes to more than $3 billion to state GDP in salaries alone, ensuring New Hampshire, like Geneia, maintains its competitive advantage.