With job vacancies in the UK reaching a record high, new research from Grant Thornton UK LLP finds that the ‘great resignation’ is severely impacting the East of England’s mid-market.
Of the mid-sized businesses in the East of England surveyed for the firm’s latest Business Outlook Tracker, half (50%) are experiencing unusually high attrition rates – with more people leaving their business than normal.
But businesses are not just losing people, they are also finding it difficult to attract new talent. Half of the region’s businesses are struggling to recruit new people to replace the talent being lost (50%) and to recruit for additional new roles to support their growth (56%).
Amidst the ongoing battle for talent, many mid-sized businesses are doing everything they can to both attract new people and retain existing employees. Over half (60%) are offering higher salaries for new roles, and more than two thirds (68%) confirmed they are offering pay rises or bonuses to help retain their existing people.
Effectively competing in the talent market also requires looking beyond just salary, with jobseekers increasingly taking the wider employee offering into consideration. The research finds that the mid-market is responding to this, with the majority (54%) offering flexible working opportunities as standard and the same number are currently reviewing their employee benefits package to make it more competitive.
Many businesses in the East of England are also willing to adopt innovative new working styles in a bid for talent. Nearly three quarters (74%) said they would be likely to trial a four-day working week, in line with the current pilot in the UK, in their business.
Attracting and retaining the necessary skills is an ongoing challenge and many businesses are now looking to government for support. Over a quarter (28%) of respondents said incentives for employers to invest in skills attraction and development should be a top priority
James Brown, Partner and Practice Leader at Grant Thornton UK LLP in the East of England, said:
“With job vacancies reaching record highs in November, the ‘Great Resignation’ has made the fight for talent amongst organisations fierce. As our research shows, mid-sized businesses in the East of England are doing all they can to attract new people but the last two years have had a significant impact on what people prioritise, resulting in some rethinking their career path or role. This has led to many companies experiencing unusually high staff turnover rates and facing a recruitment struggle.
“The rise in hybrid working has allowed people to achieve a better work-life balance, while still providing the opportunity to head into the office for collaboration and human connection. Employers who can continue to offer this flexibility will be much better placed than those who don’t.
“A business’s success ultimately hinges on its people and with the job market highly competitive, looking beyond the normal recruitment pathways is crucial. Businesses should be challenging themselves to consider whether it’s possible to recruit from a wider talent pool or to develop and retrain their existing people into new roles to fill potential skills gaps. Apprenticeships, for example, can be a very effective way of achieving both goals, while also increasing diversity within an organisation.”
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