Is Brexit causing a new candidate shortage?

Is Brexit causing a new candidate shortage?
Wednesday, May 29, 2019

If you’ve noticed that it’s recently become much harder to find candidates for permanent positions, you’re not alone. New research from KPMG and the REC shows that the demand for permanent staff is at its lowest since August 2012. Many jobseekers are now citing 'uncertainty surrounding Brexit' as a legitimate reason for being more cautious about moving jobs. 

Employers too are less likely to hire permanent employees at present, with many companies instead turning to temporary placements and outsourcing for previous permanent, internal roles.

Permanent candidates in short supply

Due to continuing low unemployment rates combined with this newly-discovered reluctance to change jobs due to an uncertain economic and political outlook, less candidates are looking for permanent opportunities. Whilst not as low, temporary worker availability also declined in recent months, seemingly for the same reasons. While average salaries are increasing across all vacancies (Oxfordshire in particular now boasts some of the highest average salaries on offer outside of London), temporary staff are being offered higher hourly pay rates to counter widespread shortages – likely contributing to the larger availability of temporary vacancies.

Less skill shortages are noted across a range of industries amongst the available temp workforce, including construction and IT. Whereas for permanent positions, businesses are likely to face shortages across a range of departments and industries, including now administration and accounting, aswell as the traditionally under-resourced areas such as healthcare, engineering and IT.

Economic and political climates impacting organisations and individuals

The research points to economic and political uncertainty as reasons for reduced recruitment activity – issues which can be difficult to counter although the continuing debate over Brexit and the forthcoming Conservative leadership election cannot be helping to instill confidence. However, once these climates begin to stabilise, we should expect recruitment to do the same, with companies looking again at permanent staffing solutions and jobseekers revisiting their ambitions to change jobs.

Alongside hesitation to make big changes, for businesses and individuals, unemployment rates remain at record-breaking low levels (less than 1% in this area), leading to a lack of available skilled, potential candidates across the board.

Recruiting well in periods of decline

Despite shortages, many businesses will find themselves needing to recruit staff – whether for new or existing roles. Within the current competitive environment, how can companies ensure they continue to recruit the best candidates? We've added some simple hints and tips that you can implement, to get the most out of your recruitment campaigns.


Tips for a successful recruitment campaign.

1) For starters, job postings will need to stand out, highlighting the benefits of the position and working for the company to help hesitant applicants make the decision. More employers are highlighting their employer brand, meaning what 'sets you apart' from other employers and what opportunities you offer. It's also important to ensure that your company mission is clearly stated - more people than ever, and especially millennials, place greater importance now on being involved in an organisation that has a greater mission or purpose, for the good of their industry or marketplace. 

2) In times of economic uncertainty, jobseekers will also be looking to work for companies that appear stable – with continued company growth, profitability and job security all being important to job-searching individuals. Is there information that you could add to your recruitment page on your website, or your job adverts, that would highlight your company's performance?

3) Finally, while unemployment is low and average salaries increasing, ensuring you are financially competitive is a must. Offering the market standard, or higher, for the role will increase interest from applicants and in many cases, the quality of candidate. In addition, look at your overall benefits package in comparison to your competitors. Do you offer enough holiday allowance, how does your pension compare, what other benefits could you offer - these don't always have to be expensive or detrimental to your operation. 


During uncertainty, you may decide that a temporary workforce is the best way to plug any gaps in your business until the market stabilises. However, businesses will still need to stand out when recruiting for temps as while availability is higher, there is still not a surplus of candidates, so ensure that your temps are paid a fair, competitive hourly/daily rate, to increase their loyalty, as they are not able to benefit from other employment benefits or the security of a permanent contract. 

Whichever route your business chooses to go down, working with an experienced recruiter who is able to offer advice (to businesses and candidates) and help you find a solution that best fits, can help you to navigate these uncertain times. After all, your business doesn’t need to be at a standstill just because the country seems to be.

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