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J.T. O'Donnell is CEO and founder of CAREEREALISM Media. O'Donnell is also founder of, a web-based career coaching membership site.

I’ve been waiting for you, 2015. Being in the HR industry for the last 18 years, this is the year I knew would eventually come. I know that sounds a little smug. But, as you’ll see, when Father Time marches on, so does the employment ecosystem. Shifting demographics are kicking in, and it’s going to make a lot of employers start to act very desperate. Here’s why…

As Generations Age, The Talent Shortage Gets Magnified

The unemployment rate is dropping — and will keep doing so. Why? As millions of Baby Boomers continue to retire (you can’t stop the aging process of 77 million people), the generation behind them, Gen X (just under 50 million people) doesn’t have enough people to replace them all. The brain drain is coming fast and furious, and even though the Millennials (roughly 70 million twenty-somethings) are flooding the job market behind Gen X, they aren’t skilled enough to hit the ground running — something employers are now recognizing with eyes wide open. [I just read this book on the coming demographic storm that does a good job of explaining the magnitude of what’s about to happen.]

A recent study by the Career Advisory Board says 93 percent of hiring managers surveyed feel they can’t find the right talent for their jobs. Time to fill rates in certain industries are up to 59 days — and climbing. They haven’t been this high since 2008. These stats rang true while I was on the phone with a CEO in San Francisco this past week. He said the unemployment rate for software developers in his area is at zero. There’s an all out war for top talent there. In his words, “I wish we had 5.3 percent unemployment like the rest of the country — they’ve at least got some talent to choose from.”

The tables have turned and now talent is finally getting the upper hand. With that switch will come a major shift in how companies approach attracting, hiring, and keeping top talent.

Want To Hire Top Talent? Your Company Needs To Get MUCH Hotter!

The internet, and now more specifically, social media have truly disrupted the hiring process. Recruiters are using it heavily to find candidates. During the recent recession, job seekers were forced to develop their professional identities online (i.e. build LinkedIn profiles, etc.), as a way to catch the attention of hiring managers. But now, it’s the employers and recruiters who need to improve their digital “hot factor.” The technical term is “Employment Branding,” and it’s how companies woo top talent. They showcase their company culture, values, benefits, perks, executive team, staff members, business mission, and anything else that will make a great candidate want to work for them instead of their competitor. [FYI – Here’s information that shows exactly how recruiters use Employment Branding to tell good company stories.]

However, just like someone who has been out of the dating scene for many years, many companies will stumble, bumble, and ultimately fumble their initial Employment Branding efforts. For example, this article cites a study that shows how managers who think the best way to attract younger talent is to install ping pong tables is going to fail miserably.

Most Companies Don’t Know How To Play Up Their Hotness

Recruiters are trained to evaluate candidates, not build marketing plans to attract them. Which means, many companies will be slow to develop and promote the stories they need to tell on social media to impress top talent. This is a big concern in the recruiting industry. In fact, studies show that 70 percent of companies plan to invest in Employment Branding so they can quickly figure out what’s most attractive about them as employers. The sooner they do, the sooner they can get in the game and flirt with talent. [Here’s a slidedeck that outlines global talent trends for recruiting in 2015.]

Unfortunately, Flirty May Turn Dirty (Talent Beware!)

When it comes to marketing, we all know some companies play dirty. They make promise they can’t keep. They make claims that are untrue. They tell lies in order to acquire customers. When it comes to recruiting and the use of Employment Branding, we can expect the same. Some companies will invest in elaborate promotional strategies that will make them seem hot, only for new hires to realize quickly it was a scam. Just look at the comments in this article about UPS’s latest holiday video’s Employment Branding potential and you’ll see some people chime in with their version of a reality check. Job seekers do need to be careful. If a company sounds too good to be true, do your homework. Even a company as great as Google may not be the right employer for you. This article shows why…

Get Ready For Some Smokin’ Hot Employer Stories In 2015!

I can’t wait to see what companies share about themselves in 2015 in order to woo top talent. Google, Zappos, Amazon, and Facebook aren’t the only hot employers on our planet. They’re just the ones that embraced Employment Branding when others didn’t. But soon, we’ll be seeing companies of all shapes and sizes strutting their stuff in hopes of catching our eyes. It’s going to be a great year!

This Influencer post originally appeared on LinkedIn. J.T. O’Donnell shares her thoughts as part of LinkedIn’s Influencer series, “Big Ideas 2015” in which the brightest minds in business blog on LinkedIn about their predictions on ideas and trends that will shape 2015. LinkedIn Editor Amy Chen provides an overview of the 70+ Influencers that tackled this subject as part of the package. Follow J.T. O’Donnell and insights from other top minds in business on LinkedIn.

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