Last month we spoke about the candidate shortage affecting all areas of employment, and this news seems to have been inescapable ever since. Over the last month all of us have seen how staff shortages have affected our everyday lives, whether that’s the inability to get fuel or less stock on the supermarket shelves. This appears hard to believe, taking into account the pandemic and the amount of people who were either furloughed or out of work. However in reality, the UK has had a skills shortage for some time, and it has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
The uncertainty that the pandemic has brought has resulted in job seeking activity being greatly reduced, with many choosing to stay in their current position to ensure job security. The rising demand for staff to fill vacancies has actually resulted in the sharpest salary inflation rate in 24 years, whereas candidate numbers fell at the second fastest rate. The prospect of higher wages can encourage candidates to start looking again, and tempt them out of their secure employment for a new position. This can help you get to the best candidates ahead of your competitors and may provide part of the solution in the short term.
However Kate Shoesmith, deputy chief executive of the REC, says that pay increases on their own won’t be able to combat the demand for workers that has built up in recent months. Her colleague Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC has expressed the importance for the government and businesses to work together to ensure training opportunities. Claire Warnes, skills and productivity at KPMG UK, has said that the end of the governments furlough scheme does not mean that more candidates will suddenly be available for work. “Many businesses will have changed their business model during the pandemic, and so significant numbers of staff returning from furlough may need re-skilling to rejoin the workforce in the same or another sector”.
In the long term, investing in training will help to upskill the national workforce and help to plug skills gaps. Advice to employers would be to stop looking for the “ideal” candidate and start looking at those who may not tick all the boxes, but who you can mould into the perfect employee for the position. Think about investing in training programmes, not only for new starters but your existing staff as well. This is an attractive quality in a business looking to attract new employees, and will breed loyalty in your current staff members. This flexibility will open the doors to many candidates who you wouldn’t have considered before, and help you to get ahead of your competition.
The best option for companies looking to hire is to use a reputable recruiter who can keep them updated on the market and can identify and advise where compromises may be able to be made. Here at Plus One, we can help guide you through the rocky market and find you the best candidates that are available. Get in touch today!