Facing the UK skills crisis head on

In our recent report on changes in the recruitment market we highlighted how the UK’s low unemployment rates and changing candidate expectations have contributed to a very real skills crisis. Recruiters are finding it increasingly hard to find the talent that their businesses need.

How can you face the talent challenge head on and give yourself the edge in hiring top talent?

UK skills crisis: the facts

  • Nearly half of all UK businesses believe recruitment will become more difficult over the next couple of years
  • It currently takes one month to recruit the right candidate for a Finance, Customer Service, HR, Secretarial or Marketing role
  • But it takes three months to recruit for roles in Sales or IT
  • More than two-thirds of employers are now recruiting in a more candidate-led way

“The UK economy will struggle to maintain long-term sustainable growth if the mismatch between the supply of jobs and existing jobseeker talent pool is not addressed.”
John Salt, Website Director at Total Jobs

Sector-specific shortages

A BBC review highlighted how UK businesses are at a disadvantage compared to other European countries

“The UK continues to lag behind countries such as Germany, the US and France in terms of productivity (the amount of output produced for every unit of labour). Part of the answer comes down to the fact that there may be mismatches between the skills available in the UK labour force and the needs and expectations of employers.”

Sectors facing pronounced skills shortages include engineering, IT and teaching.

In these sectors the need to adopt a candidate-led approach to recruitment is crucial if employers are to attract the talent they need.

Brexit: impact on employment?

Near full employment is set to continue with acute skills gaps felt across many sectors in the UK and there is no indication that this will ease anytime soon. Some disruption to the economy and employment figures may be inevitable due to the uncertainty around the outcome of the upcoming Brexit referendum.

There is much debate around the possible impact of Brexit on the job market, with some sectors potentially facing significant challenge. For example, hospitality and construction are sectors with perhaps a higher percentage of foreign-born UK residents in their workforce – people on whom they rely to fulfil their workforce needs. If Britain votes to leave the European Union the impact on candidate flow into these sectors may be severe.

Employers who manage this uncertainty internally, communicating plans to their employees and offering support where needed, are likely to experience less workforce disruption. In terms of the potential skills gap this may create, the best approach for employers is to continue to focus their recruitment approach with the candidate in mind.

Candidate-led recruitment

“It’s never been more important to ensure that businesses retain a clear focus on employer brand positioning across multiple channels to attract the right talent. This should then be complemented by initiatives that speak directly to candidates as individuals, headlining what appeals to them most. This can include company culture, not just skills and experience, the type of working environment and a business’ approach to work-life balance.”
John Salt, Website Director at Total Jobs

Position yourself to recruit

Increasingly recruitment is about positioning.

  • It is about positioning your employer brand
  • Positioning yourself as an attractive company to work for
  • Positioning yourself to be in the right place at the right time to find the right candidate

That’s how you can overcome the skills shortage.

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