UK businesses are scrambling for talent. ONS figures show that at the end of 2021, job vacancies across reached a record high of almost 1.2 million. With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing, coupled with an ongoing skills shortage and The Great Resignation, what does this mean for recruitment this year?
Where we are
Last year, we moved from concerns over mass unemployment to worries about talent shortages. In 2021, many businesses felt they cutback staff too much the previous year, with furloughing employees and redundancies. As the economy recovered, some sectors needed to rapidly increase their hiring. As a result, skills gaps and rising salaries, presented additional recruitment challenges that will remain throughout 2022.
With the recent emergence of Omicron, the COVID-19 pandemic still impacts on how we recruit. The pandemic has sped up the transition to remote work, and in the new normal, this work model remains prevalent. With more remote and hybrid working taking place, it presents opportunities to a wider and more diverse and inclusive talent pool.
With Government recommendations ‘that those who can work from home do’, both the interview stage and onboarding process could take place in a virtual environment, at least for Q1. However, regardless of any new variant, it is the skills gap which remains one of the most crucial challenges.
Unsurprisingly, in addition to the specific technical skills employers are looking for: Reliability, resilience and adaptability, along with leadership, creativity and problem solving.
The reports of candidate shortages are being demonstrated beyond the UK and there is a shortage across the globe – Australia, New Zealand and North America – even countries which have traditionally held untapped labour pools like India are reporting candidate shortages.
The Great Resignation
Lockdowns made people re-evaluate how work impacts their mental health and wellbeing and reconsider their careers. The Great Resignation has led to the highest number of job vacancies in the UK in 20 years, with many workers deciding to change careers or leave long-standing jobs. This presents both opportunities for recruiters (new talent) but challenges for those companies losing experienced staff.
Proactive Recruitment Strategies
To date, a reactive recruitment strategy has been the default option for organisations. However, focusing your candidate sourcing efforts on job posting, without any development of a diverse talent pool, is a mistake in talent acquisition. Relying on reactive recruitment through job boards means that you’re always searching for good candidates, appealing only to active candidates and hoping that the right ones apply. Building up a network of screened candidates and implementing proactive sourcing and engagement tactics is crucial when skills-shortages are paramount. Using a niche recruitment consultancy in your sector, like Meraki Talent, helps as they have built up a talent pool full of skilled, diverse candidates. This means that you can move quickly – significantly cutting your time to hire in the process.
Quick Hiring Process
Nowadays, speed is essential in recruitment, and we are witnessing in-house HR professionals developing proactive, technology-driven strategies to find the best talent for their business and secure skills ahead of their competition. In 2022, the time-to-hire could be a differentiator between securing skilled professionals, or losing out to the competition.
There is a strong resistance to the return to the office, with many applicants refusing to consider work that does not offer them remote working options. Remote, or hybrid working, can provide huge benefits to employers that stretch beyond office running cost-savings, by helping with staff retention, candidate attraction and widening up to a large, national (or even international) diverse and inclusive talent pool.
Employer Branding remains key
To boost both recruitment and retention, employers need to review their brand identity and the brand experience to portray their company positively. Those representing companies that may not yet have a strong employer brand, can still create a welcoming image for candidates. Getting acquainted with the brand, understanding its values, mission and vision is needed on order to inspire skilled candidates to accept that first interview.
Niche Industry Knowledge
This will be a key factor in successful recruiting that focuses on long-term talent retention in 2022. As some industries become more complex, new and more intricate jobs arise, particularly in the area of IT and cyber. Those recruiting will need to know tmore about the roles and industry to fill new positions.
The world is facing an employment crisis. Workers are leaving their positions in record numbers. If you want to keep your best talent, you have to fight for it.
Now is the time to invest heavily in the skilling, upskilling and reskilling of workers. The ability of managers to lead and inspire also helps to create a working environment that makes employees want to stay.
Finally, the pandemic, hand in hand with the skills shortage, has created an economy which will affect the employment market beyond 2022. Companies can only do well this year if they can both attract and retain talent. The success of individual businesses – and the wider economy – rests on this.