Springfield, MO – Greg Burris of the United Way of the Ozarks said eliminating drug testing or hiring a convicted felon was more than likely not an option for some employers ten or 15 years ago. 

However, things have changed as there are now more jobs than quality people to fill those positions. 

“When supply exceeds demand versus demand exceeding supply it changes everything,” said Burris.

Burris said replacing baby boomers in the workplace will be a challenge. 

“Companies need to think about what’s happening in their own organizations,” said Burris. “They need to look at who’s retiring over the next five years, what skills are being lost, and what skills they need to replace.”  

Burris said this could mean considering a candidate an employer might not have considered in the past. 

“Employers are going to start looking at every able bodied person,” said Burris. “If you’ve had a felony on your record, depending on what type of felony that is, and what type of job it is, it may be that they say we’ll overlook that, and we’re going to train you.” 

According to the Society for Human Resource Managment, HR professionals said they’ve had difficulty recruiting suitable job candidates in the past year. 

“HR professionals here are little better prepared…so that speaks well for our region,” said Burris. 

Burris added it’s important for companies to consider the things younger generations are asking for in an employer. 

“I think those organizations who are willing to invest in their employees are going to be the winners,” said Burris.  

Employee Benefits Consultant Tom Jensen said baby boomers are taking their knowledge with them when they retire.

However, Jenses sees this as an opportunity for growth within companies. 

“We actually have tried to address that and started to address that by hiring younger consultants,” said Jenses. “The insurance industry and consulting faces a pretty big knowledge gap coming right around the corner…most of my competitors are retirement age or very close to.” 

Jensen said it’s important for baby boomers to pass their knowlege on to the newer generation of workers. 

“From a client standpoint I’ve seen a lot of internal programs be developed for training and passing of that knowledge,” said Jensen. “I say I’ve seen a lot, but there’s still a great opportunity for employers to improve on that.” 

The takeaway for HR professionals: Be more open minded, and take time to invest in potential employees.

Even if they don’t come to the table with the skills they need.

Burris said it’s worth it for employers to train and teach those who are willing to learn.