Leveraging the current job market by targeting the underemployed

Small business owners often have other means of non-salary rewards and compensation than big businesses -- these perks could help attract part-time workers.

J. Pat Carter/AP/File
In this May 3 photo, several hundred people stand in line at the National Career Fair in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as they tried to find a job. Small business owners can take advantage of the current job market - attracting talented employees from the growing pool of the underemployed.

There is an employment statistic that all entrepreneurs should be paying attention to. It is the underemployment rate. Gallop tracks this statistic, which combines unemployment with those working part-time, but want full-time work.
While the official unemployment rate is now around 10%, underemployment is over 19% according the the most recent survey by Gallop.
In a robust economy, entrepreneurs have a difficult time competing with larger firms when recruiting. In today's job market, the large number of underemployed give small businesses a fighting chance in landing the perfect employee.
Small businesses have always had other means of non-salary rewards and compensation that are not always used in larger businesses. The difference now is that potential employees are more willing to look at positions that offer more non-traditional compensation.
One of the main forms of compensation for many employees right now is keeping an active line on their resumes, even if it is a good title that is only a part-time job.
For full time employees non-traditional compensation might include creative bonus plans, profit sharing plans, stock, stock options, phantom stock, and/or stock appreciation rights plans.
Small businesses have more flexibility in how they structure compensation. To leverage this entrepreneurs should listen to what the employee really wants. There may be opportunity to meet their needs in ways that do not cost money.
Flexible hours and time off still offer value to employees, and small businesses can craft specific plans to meet the unique needs of each prospect.
Finding employees has often been a challenge for smaller firms, as traditional recruiting methods can be quite expensive. But bootstrapping has found its way to the recruiting process.
There are new tools popping up on the web to facilitate connecting employers with potential employees. Social networking sites are certainly proving effective. Ben Cunningham passed along a website that is specifically designed to connect employees with jobs in start-up businesses called jobnob.
Leveraging the current job market may be key to helping entrepreneurs to jump-start our economic recovery.

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