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If today’s outlook for skilled workers was a forecast, it would likely be sunny skies for days. But what about for credit unions that are finding it increasingly difficult to find the skilled workers they need to fill open job requisitions for such skilled positions as accountants, compliance officers, and IT managers?
The forecast could be gloomy, with dense fog, which makes moving forward a challenge. So what can savvy credit unions do to improve the forecast and their overall business outlook? First, let’s take a look at the numbers.
As we enter this new decade, it looks like great news for job seekers, with just 3.5% unemployment in December 2019 in the United States. That’s down from the already low 3.9% rate at the end of 2018, according to a press release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While this feels like mostly good news, it’s also time of great challenge for those with open jobs, like many credit unions.
Compounded with a significant trend of a lack of skilled workers across the U.S. in mid and small-sized economies, organizations in smaller towns and cities may find the talent shortage even more difficult, as they target the similar talent pools to those of larger metropolitan areas. "Not only are skilled college graduates leaving their hometowns to find work in large cities, but the ones that do stay are often drawn to larger companies and don't consider looking at a credit union," says Nate Rogers, VP of Business Development and Marketing at CU Service Network. "Many may not even know what a credit union is."
With the entire labor marketing tightening, how critical is the demand for accountants, just one of the potential roles currently open at many credit unions? The BLS is predicting that the demand for accountants will increase 6% or more through 2028, in line with the average growth rate for all occupations.
"We constantly hear about how challenging it is to find skilled accountants to staff credit unions," says Diane Parham, CFO of CU Service Network and head of Outsourced Accounting Services. "Turnover is high, and new employee training tends to be quite long due to the unique nature of credit union accounting - often six months before the accountant is fully independent."
And though technology and automation should increasingly allow accountants to become more efficient, there is no prediction of reduced overall demand for accountants. In fact, though automation could take over routine tasks like data entry, the advisory and analytical duties of accountants will likely become even more prominent and in demand. Further, accountants are just one of the roles that credit unions need to fill. A similar situation exists for those hiring compliance officers, IT managers, and a variety of other skilled positions.
If we return to our earlier weather analogy: what’s a hiring manager to do when the forecast looks so dreary? Today’s managers must be nimble and creative in their efforts to fill all the open positions at their credit unions. They can use employment sites and their social networks to share the benefits of working for a great member organization. And they can start to solve some of their issues immediately by seeking the kinds of credit union services designed to make organizations stronger, today.
Though it’s a challenge for managers today, there are a wide variety of credit union services to meet both back office and outsourced needs.
If you’re a credit union hiring manager or other manager within a credit union, and you find yourself wondering how to weather the new decade’s skilled employment hiring storm, don’t despair. There are creative solutions and CUSOs that exist to help with situations exactly like what you are experiencing now. Did you know what we were the first organization in the country to offer a full-scale credit union outsourced accounting services? Many credit unions didn't know such a concept existed!