KCSA gets creative on recruitment, while decrying dearth of talent
IR and PR consultancy KCSA Strategic Communications has launched a ‘crowdfunding’ recruitment program in a bid to attract new talent, as it declares: ‘Business is booming, but finding great people has been challenging.’
Jeffrey Goldberger, KCSA managing partner and principal, tells IR Magazine the firm is resorting to the quirky recruitment tactic because it is fighting twin issues in recruiting at account director level and below, as well as incentive battles to win the strong candidates it does find at vice president and above.
This is despite the New York-based firm coming off what it says was the strongest year in its 51-year history. ‘KCSA is no different from other professional services firms across the country, in that we are all struggling to find qualified employees following last year’s rapid economic expansion,’ says Goldberger in a press release announcing the new crowdfunding recruitment drive that offers a $5,000 finder’s fee to anyone who successfully recommends a candidate.
The lack of suitable candidates has resulted in KCSA having to ‘temper new business efforts,’ he adds.
Talking about KCSA’s recruitment initiative in a video that IR Magazine has seen a transcript preview of, Goldberger acknowledges how the changing nature of work through the pandemic has affected recruitment – not just at KCSA or IR more generally, but across the economy as a whole.
Talking about the company’s rapid growth in recent years, he adds: ‘You would think we’d have no problem attracting talent but that hasn’t been the case. And we’re not alone. Whether you are a big tech name like Google or Facebook or a local restaurant, finding and retaining good people has become increasingly difficult.’
In fact, around 10.6 mn jobs remained unfilled in November 2021, according to the US Labor Department’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover report.
Speaking to IR Magazine, Goldberger explains that within IR, ‘we are seeing a dearth of strong candidates (or candidates at all) for account director and below. At the same time, when we have come across strong candidates for vice president and up, their current firm is pulling out all stops to keep them.’
But he warns that money ‘is a short-term fix’ – something both employees and employers are increasingly realizing, even if the cash temptation often still works. The result is that in more and more cases, Goldberger says the ‘compensation scale has been turned upside down. If the stock market doesn’t right itself, layoffs are likely to happen.'
But the recruitment problem is something companies have to address, too, and Goldberger explains that KCSA has – like many – been working to offer greater flexibility and to adapt to the shifting priorities of employees.
‘While we continue to maintain our offices in midtown Manhattan, we’ve allowed our employees a high level of flexibility in where they work and live,’ says Goldberger. ‘We’ve come to learn that working and living in the ‘big city’ is not for everyone. In fact, over the past two years, many of our team members have made significant changes to their lives. Some have moved home to be closer to family and friends, while others have planted roots in entirely new cities.’
Now, around 30 percent of the company lives outside the tri-state area and is spread across 15 states, he adds.