Recent reports have highlighted the difficulties that UK businesses are facing when it comes to hiring suitable staff for their organisations. According to the London Chamber of Commerce, 54% of businesses have been struggling to recruit new employees over the last three months. Skills shortages are still rife within the UK, and employers must rise to the challenge in order to secure the staff they require.
Improved Starting Salaries
The Guardian has reported that recruitment agencies are noticing better starting salaries and increases in pay as a result of the skills shortages. The Midlands and the South of England have seen a particularly strong growth in salaries. Since January this year, 26% of businesses in London felt that there was more pressure to increase wages.
Kevin Green, REC Chief Executive commented: “Employers need to realise that people are deciding to change jobs because they can earn more than in their current job.” He added, “Increases in starting salary offers are being driven by skills and talent shortages across the economy, and businesses are going to have to think hard about retaining scarce resource.”
Lack of experience among job candidates has been cited as one of the biggest problems for employers at this time. After leaving school and university, many young candidates still do not have the skills required for the workplace. Businesses can address this issue by taking on work experience candidates who are still in education as a means of equipping the future workforce with practical experience.
Paid internships and graduate schemes are a promising way for employers to nurture raw talent. Taking on interns and new graduates for a 6-12 month internship can give new candidates an opportunity to learn the skills that they need to do the job in the long-term. Recent figures show that on average people completed seven internships before securing full-time employment.
As we have seen from the NHS’ recruitment strategy, there is certainly scope for employers to broaden their talent search by looking abroad. As it stands, UK employers must prove that they have advertised a job opening domestically for at least 28 days before they are able to look for foreign workers. For some roles, there have been recommendations to relax this law.
Peter Bishop, Deputy Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that: “Increasingly, businesses need to look outside of the domestic labour market for the staff they need.” He added that “Making it easier for businesses to recruit from overseas is critical. We must see a reduction in the red tape associated with recruiting non-EEA workers and exempt foreign students from the net migration target, restoring their right to work in the UK after graduating.”
Remote working is a rising trend, as we are seeing more and more employers adopting this method in order to outsource work to the professionals that they need. In 2014, home workers in the UK totalled 4.2 million, which accounts for 13.9% of the workforce, according to research from the ONS. Hiring remote workers allows employers to tap into skills which they otherwise may not be able to reach.
Christine Durst, founder and CEO of Staffcentrix, told Microsoft that: “Telework allows you to expand your talent pool beyond the 20-mile radius that most companies hire in, to literally anywhere in the world. That alone can lead to a productivity benefit. Add in the fact that more people want to work this way, and you have a powerful recruiting tool.”
A Closer Look
The UK is particularly stretched to find workers who are skilled in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – with 40% of firms having difficulty recruiting in these professions. There is also a chronic shortage of staff in the NHS, where qualified doctors and nurses are in high demand. Furthermore, the UK requires approximately 20,000 more teachers than it currently has. In order to meet the demand, companies across the board need to look at ways to source, attract and retain the talent that they require.