Wonder How Other Hawaii Employers Are Adjusting Pay Rates and Addressing Recruitment Challenges?

Hawaii Employers Council is pleased to release the results of the seventy-first Pay Rates in Hawaii Survey.  The survey was conducted between July and October 2017.  A total of three hundred private companies and government agencies in Hawaii participated.  One hundred and one clerical, trade, service, technical and professional jobs were reported in this survey report, covering over one hundred twenty-eight thousand employees throughout the state.  The overall average pay change adjustment for all jobs published in the survey report calculated at 4.27%.
Recruitment and Staffing
In addition to pay rate information, this year's participants shared insights on recruitment and staffing practices.
The Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced on October 19, 2017 that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September 2017 was 2.5% (compared to 4.2% for the United States).  With such a low unemployment rate, organizations throughout the state face many challenges in recruiting talent.  According to the responses provided by survey participants 50% are facing difficulties with the recruitment of entry level and support or front-line jobs.
The entry level, support or front-line job types that were reported as being difficult to recruit are listed below in alphabetical order:
Entry Level Jobs
Given the challenges employers face when recruiting talent, organizations were requested to share strategies they are using to attract employees.  Participants identified the following activities as effective methods to support talent acquisition initiatives.  Responses are listed in order of responses received from highest to lowest (starting with the left column):
Strategies Table
Employers must seek new and creative ways to find qualified applicants.  With the rise in popularity of social media, many organizations are using various online and social media tools to recruit applicants.  Respondents identified Craigslist as the highest utilized method for job advertisement, followed by Facebook and LinkedIn.
Social Media Tools
Other tools used for job advertisement include (listed in alphabetical order):
Other Tools
Job fairs continue to be a huge support for employers and applicants alike, providing applicants an opportunity to visit several organizations in one location and employers the opportunity to market their organization to a larger population of job seekers.
Many survey participants (40.5%) reported participating in one to two job fairs per year; several organizations participate in three or more job fairs per year.
Job Fair
Slightly over half (50.6%) reported that job fairs have been successful in helping their organization recruit for qualified entry level jobs.
Employers continually seek ways to differentiate themselves at job fairs, with 27.8% of survey respondents reporting that they provide promotions to encourage applicants to apply for vacancies at their organizations.
The top five job fairs that survey respondents participate in are listed below in order of responses received from highest to lowest:
  • Career Expo/Star Advertiser
  • Workforce Career Fair/Success Advertising
  • Job Quest
  • College Job Fairs
  • Company Sponsored Job Fairs
Recruitment Challenges
While the biggest recruitment challenge currently remains the availability of qualified applicants to fill vacation positions, survey respondents also reported facing several other struggles related to finding the right candidate for the job.
  • Interview No-Show
Over half of the organizations (53%) reported that applicants will call to cancel or reschedule their first interview appointment.  Less than one-third of organizations (31.5%) have experienced applicants not showing up for their interview.  An even smaller number of organizations (11.7%) have experienced no-shows of more than 50% of their applicants scheduled for an interview.
To address this challenge, participants employ strategies to remind applicants of interview appointments and maintain flexibility in scheduling them.  These strategies are listed in order of responses received from highest to lowest (starting with the left column):
Show Up Strategies
  • Organizational Fit
Hiring to ensure organizational fit is a key factor when evaluating applicants and organizations work creatively to determine "fit" as best as possible.  Below is a list of the most common methods used, listed in order of responses received from highest to lowest:
  1. Interview – have multiple interviews, make regular improvements to the current interview process (i.e., additional questions, job specific questions, including peer group)
  2. Screening – conduct pre-screening or improve current screening methods
  3. Tests – perform general knowledge, job related, pre-employment and/or personality tests at the appropriate time in the application process
  4. Panel interview – 2 or more levels of organizational representatives interview the applicants
  5. Job requirements, demands and expectations of the position are clearly explained
  6. Mission and Values are clearly explained
  7. Interview candidates based on employee referrals
  8. Company Culture is clearly explained
  9. Use behavior-based interviewing strategies
  • Turnover
More than a third of participating organizations (39.1%) shared that they have experienced a higher level of turnover for their entry level jobs versus other levels of jobs within their organization.  The entry level, support and front-line jobs that were reported to have high turnover by multiple organizations are listed below in alphabetical order:

TurnOver Table

Another recruitment challenge Oahu employers report facing, involves the development of West Oahu, the island's fastest-growing region.  Efforts to transform the area to achieve a balance of residents, businesses and jobs are changing the dynamics of work opportunities for those relocating to West Oahu.
Kapolei is currently home to just under 11% of Oahu's population but is expected to increase to just under 15 percent of Oahu's population in the coming years.  As the so called "Second City" evolves, participants shared the impact it has made on talent acquisition.  Fifty-six of the participating organizations indicated that they have experienced impacts directly related to growth in West Oahu.  Such impacts include turnover due to employees preferring to work closer to home, or the withdrawal of job applications for the same reason.  In response, some employers reported increasing pay to ensure starting pay levels are competitive to attract talent.
HEC conducts a variety of compensation and benefits surveys to provide data useful in developing and administering compensation and benefit plans, and personnel policies.  Custom snapshots and comparison reports from our compensation surveys are available, along with customized, proprietary surveys conducted on your behalf.  Our Survey & Compensation experts can also work with members on employee opinion surveys to identify gaps between being an employer of choice and being merely an employer.  For more information, please contact Cathy Keaulani, Survey & Compensation Services Manager (ckeaulani@hecouncil.org), or Susan Amuro, Survey & Compensation Analyst (samuro@hecouncil.org).