UK Jobs Market – Concern for Employers!

REC indicesEarlier this week the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG produced a report highlighting concerns about the availability of candidates to meet labour supply demand.

The report signalled a further rapid increase in hiring activity during August, as improved confidence around the overall activity outlook has led businesses to ramp up their recruitment plans.

The graph above taken from the report was compiled from data taken by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies. Therefore it is a broadly relevant sample and seems to reflect the trend most of us see reported by the mainstream media.  Although there is no definitive scale on the graph, the comparison data going back to May 2019 clearly indicates the significance of the current level of demand. Perhaps hardly surprising given the Covid 19 crisis which has led to large numbers of EU based nationals returning to their homelands. Brexit has also undeniably added a barrier and cost to what was an easily accessible labour market. Connected with that, in August, the number of staff available to start jobs also fell at a new record rate, deepening the current labour shortage. Switching the entire economy on over the summer has created a unique demand spike, and potentially a longer term crisis.

So aside from the obvious supply and demand cost pressures, what else does this mean for business? Several strategies are now required to ensure you can compete in what is a hot market, but key aspects are to:

1. Keep what you have. Retaining the people and experience you already have is key. Offer flexibility where you can, try to understand what your employees need to make them stay and act to meet their needs.

2. If you do need to recruit, smooth the process. Don’t add unnecessary time delays to the sourcing-to-hire process. Providing candidates with a good experience and a fast response is really essential. Once a candidate decides to apply to your company, you need to act fast because yours is unlikely to be the only job they have applied for! A lack of pace in the recruitment process is perceived negatively by most candidates. Delays also invite competition.

3. Now is the time to engage partners you can trust and who have the toolkit to help you get the people you need. Recruiters will work very hard to meet your needs if they are exclusive. If every role is a competition against several other agencies, they are likely to be inclined to give their best customers their attention, providing them with the best candidates they can find on the market.

The war for talent is hotting up, but with the right focus and attention, companies will still be able to successfully attract and retain the right people for their businesses. If you would like a no obligation chat about how we might be able to support you with your recruitment efforts, get in touch – Russell.Stewart@simpson-booth.com / 07807 062 958.