The competition for talent is hot, but it can’t get much hotter. The labor market in the United States is operating around its full capacity, which means employers must pull out all the stops just to fill vacancies. If they want to attract, hire, and retain the best and the brightest, they have to do even more.

Even businesses that have so far avoided the talent squeeze can’t hide forever. Reports indicate that by 2030, demand for skilled workers will surpass supply. Some estimates even say the turning point could arrive within two years.

Employers can’t solve the problem by hiring subpar talent, but many feel the pressure to do so. Unfilled jobs cost an average of $800,000 per year per company. As the war for talent heats up, businesses need every advantage they can find — and wasting nearly $1 million a year on empty seats is a losing proposition.

Considering the future of the American labor market, businesses must not remain idle. Business leaders must change their approach if they want to staff their companies with top talent.

How Companies Can Compete for Talent in 2019

No matter how much employers might like their employees, most of them do not think their workers are extra-special. Recent research found that 82 percent of companies don’t believe they recruit highly talented workers. Bosses who do manage to land a talented hire rarely keep them for long — especially young employees.

Desperate times call for decisive measures. To find, hire, and retain the top talent of 2019, company leaders must rethink how they recruit:

1. Become a social butterfly.

Talented people don’t live in caves. Go to networking events and low-pressure meetups to mingle and make connections. Don’t bring a PowerPoint recruiting pitch on a flash drive. Just shake some hands, smile a lot, and remember names. While many introductions might not lead anywhere, the few that do are more than worth the effort.

2. Look for talent in new places.

Local job listings are a thing of the past, and smart companies know that great talent can come from anywhere. Open new jobs to candidates from all over the world — or at least all over the country — to gain access to a much broader talent pool. Talk to universities with good programs in the company’s field. Establish a presence on professional online boards. Be the cutting-edge employer that cutting-edge employees want to find.

3. Get what you pay for (in a good way).

The best employees also cost the most money. Instead of asking less capable employees to match the production of superstars at half the price, cut out the middleman and hire the superstars. Yes, they cost more, but they justify their price through the work they produce. When an underpaid employee proves his or her worth, break out the checkbook to avoid losing that employee to a more generous competitor.

4. Hire a headhunter.

Everyone does it. This might be the most expensive option on the list, but it’s less expensive than letting a valuable position remain unfilled for months. If the company desperately needs a top candidate, bite the bullet and hire a mercenary. Invest heavily in the new employee to take the sting out of the first month’s rent.

These tips should be intuitive in 2019, but plenty of companies still fail to consider remote employees or pay their workers accordingly. Be willing to do whatever it takes to acquire workers who will keep your business relevant in the talent-hungry years to come.