Richard East, Chairman of Cheltenham headquartered RE Recruitment, looks at the current challenges in recruiting…

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Business confidence in the UK economy has improved considerably with the easing of restrictions, resulting in a surge in job vacancies, particularly for temporary staff.

The temporary and agency worker model has many benefits including providing flexibility, getting people quickly into work and enabling organisations to hire staff in unstable times. However, the pandemic and Brexit has led to significant changes in the labour market, culminating in resource scarcity in many sectors, therefore employers need to seriously consider their approach to candidate attraction, skills development and retention.

So, why is candidate attraction a challenge in the current environment?

Quite simply, it is based on supply and demand – the more vacancies and career options that outweigh labour supply, the more discerning human resources become; people will be attracted to those roles, or other environments, that help service basic, psychological and self-fulfilment needs.

The pandemic has forced us all to assess our health, wellbeing and work-life balance, therefore those roles that afford flexible working, opportunities to develop and in general a rewarding and respectful working environment become more attractive. Pandemic aside, there has been an overarching decline in skills investment over recent years which further tightens the labour market.

Other challenges in the labour market centre on employee nervousness and the desire for job security.

Employers recruiting for permanent positions must contend with the issue of those currently in roles, too nervous to switch employers due to uncertain times.

Then there is the EU labour market quandary; even though there has been a rise in EU nationals coming to work in the UK over recent years, this labour supply has been thwarted with Brexit red-tape and has limited labour flow into the country, especially for those seeking workers for semi-skilled or unskilled roles.

All these factors have created a ‘perfect storm’ in terms of candidate attraction. Employers need to differentiate themselves as a ‘go to’ employer, combating recruitment difficulties in a fiercely competitive market.

Whilst the previous section may paint a bleak picture, there are several ways in which an employer can stand out from the crowd to effectively attract and retain the right people.

Pay – The tight labour market is putting upward pressure on wages for many workers and employers are beginning to increase starting salaries to counteract recruitment challenges.

Benefits – Employers can look to non-financial benefits such as meaningful career progression and flexible working arrangements for differentiation.

Employer Brand – In a discerning labour market, candidates often look to what an employer ‘stands for’ and how it values their people, processes, social issues and the environment.

Manage your ideal candidate expectations – In a labour scarcity situation, employers must manage their expectations regarding person specifications.

Mix it up – Constantly assess the recruitment campaign as new directions may need to be established to attract people to your vacancy.

Recruit to retain – Invest in your workforce to save spending time on recruitment. Develop at strategy with a robust induction and training programme.

RE Recruitment has supported many of our clients, both Blue Chip and SMEs, in making their worker offering fit today’s challenging employment market, contact us today for a no obligation candidate attraction review.

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