As employers scramble to find candidates of all kinds and cover all types of jobs, they’re facing a particularly nagging talent shortage: Recruiters are in short supply.

According to iCIMS, job postings for recruiters have more than doubled since January. At the same time, its research said it’s difficult for recruiting firms to fill their own openings, even for roles whose low-end salaries hover over $100,000 a year.

“There are not remotely enough recruiters to fill the demand that’s out there,” John Arbolino, managing director at recruiting firm Boothroyd & Co., told The Wall Street Journal. “Everyone and their mother out there in corporate America wants recruiters.”

At the start of the pandemic the average number of monthly U.S. job postings for recruiters fell, the Journal said. Since February 2020, however, the number has more than doubled. It stood at 148,000 in September, said talent acquisition platform ZipRecruiter.

Experience vs. Potential

The talent shortage has led to a variety of efforts to identify and train aspiring recruiters. Recruit Rise, for example, is a nine-week remote training program for those interested in technology recruiting. The program helps participants learn recruiting’s basics, including the differences in roles among software engineers and cold-emailing strategies “to poach employed workers,” the Journal said.

Many recruiting firms say they feel squeezed by the shortage of recruiters. Some describe a struggle to meet client demand while understaffed, while others say they’re increasing their own head counts enough to turn the supply crunch into a growth opportunity.

Murray Resources, a recruiting firm in Houston, has cut back on client searches because of a lack of recruiters itself. Keith Wolf, a managing director at the firm, said many potential recruiters don’t realize the field is a viable career option. “One thing that any recruiter will tell you is no one went to school to be a recruiter,” he said.

Meanwhile, many employers are starting their own in-house recruiting teams. That helps them save money on the 20% to 30% fees charged by outside recruiters. Many employers deem such rates as too expensive in today’s labor market, according to the Journal. In particular demand are recruiters with industry experience.

By Mark Feffer

Mark Feffer is executive editor of RecruitingDaily and the HCM Technology Report. He’s written for TechTarget, HR Magazine, SHRM, Dice Insights, and TalentCulture, as well as Dow Jones, Bloomberg and Staffing Industry Analysts. He likes schnauzers, sailing and Kentucky-distilled beverages.


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