In a brave new world featuring more jobs than applicants, businesses are having to rethink how they attract and retain talent. Michael Greer, Senior Business Development Manager for Midlands and West Home Counties at recruitment company Reed, suggests ways to secure the right people for your business.
A perfect storm of Brexit, the soaring cost of living, and the pandemic-induced Great Resignation – a global trend of upping sticks for a better work-life balance has turned the jobs market on its head, not just in Northamptonshire, but across the UK.
According to job vacancies data published by the Office for National Statistics in June 2022, the number of unfilled positions in the UK increased by 20,000 between March and May to a record 1.3 million. A report by insurance company Aviva adds further evidence of an employment sea change, claiming that two thirds of UK employees are considering moving jobs this year.
In this candidate-driven market, with more jobs than jobseekers across the board, we have seen many businesses offering generous salaries and benefits packages, over the average, to entice and retain talent.
Roles are simply hard to fill due to a shortage of talent in the market. If you aren’t working with a good recruiter who has access to all the right tools and channels, recruiting can be a very challenging task. Even when an employer makes a job offer to a suitable candidate, it doesn’t stop there. We are seeing as many as a third of all candidates being counter offered, as employers try to retain their staff.
Of course, given the turmoil experienced over the past two years, not all companies are in a position to offer more money and attractive benefits. Organisations are also rightly concerned about over-paying their staff and so causing future problems with an inflated cost base.
If your company is one of the thousands currently struggling to fill vacancies or retain staff, you may be wondering what action to take. We’ve done our own research at Reed, which has shown recurring themes in what candidates are looking for in their current and future roles.
Recent data highlights the key factors employers should consider:
- Design the job: ensure all the elements of the role are covered in the job description, and take care how you present it – does it sound interesting, exciting and full of potential?
- Offer competitive salaries: a 2021 Reed workforce survey found that more than half of participants would be less inclined to leave their role if their current employer raised their salary. But what’s the salary sweet spot? We suggest offering 10% higher than an employee’s current salary or the market rate, to get their attention.
- Tailor your benefits: be flexible and have individual preferences in mind when formulating benefits. Get to know what drives individual candidates so you can put the perfect package to them.
- Be flexible: no longer seen as a perk, hybrid working and/or fully remote roles are becoming the norm for many companies. Where this is not possible, consider a more dynamic approach to the 9-5 week, such as promoting a more flexible working day that might, for example, allow staggered start and finish times.
- Create an attractive workplace: be aware of your Employee Value Proposition – how you market your organisation to prospective candidates and retain them. For those organisations where workers are fully on site or in a hybrid routine, a workplace with modern facilities and a great culture is an excellent way to attract professionals. Focus on creating a culture that thrives on inclusivity and diversity.
- Nurture potential candidates through every stage of the recruitment journey: this may sound obvious, but one misstep could lead to a candidate getting cold feet and dropping out of a role. Fear of the unknown is enough to stop many people from taking that leap – it is the recruiter’s job to mitigate any fears and keep the ball rolling with regular contact, feedback and positive engagement. The personal touch is crucial.
- Work with a professional recruiter: this will ensure that you are using effective tools and channels to find talent.
To retain staff, consider if you’re doing enough to promote internally. Are you developing opportunities for existing staff to grow in their roles?
If budget is an issue, could you offer in-house training and development opportunities, options to buy or sell annual leave, sabbaticals, or a refreshed culture, such as informal dress or early Friday finish.
Wellbeing is also important to people and employers should consider policies and benefits that support this agenda. An incentivised staff survey can be invaluable to help you understand your workforce’s greatest wants and needs and shape your recruitment strategies.
In an evolving and challenging jobs market, listening to your existing workforce is always a good starting place.
Find out more about Reed or contact Reed Northampton on 01604 636644.