By Daniel Hunter

Finding top talent is a growing challenge for UK businesses with traditional hiring methods compounding the problem, according to online talent marketplace Upwork.

The study surveyed 1,000 hiring managers and found that 88% of UK businesses describe the way they hire talent as slow, restrictive and inefficient. In addition, the findings reveal that it takes UK businesses more than a month (34 days) to find and hire new talent, with 1 in 7 (14%) taking more than two months.

Eight in ten (82%) of UK businesses admit slow hiring times have a negative impact on overall business productivity. The study suggests that traditional methods to find talent are no longer fit for today’s business environment, which could help to explain why UK’s productivity level is at its lowest level since World War II.

It’s not just productivity that suffers either; 40% of respondents noticed that office morale deteriorates when there are talent shortages, and one in six (17%) of businesses have actually lost clients or projects because of talent shortages.

Nearly two thirds of hiring decision makers (59%) identified their geographical location as inhibiting their access to the right talent. This is perhaps not surprising as 78% of businesses restrict their search to their immediate local area, with only a staggeringly low 4% looking beyond the UK for talent.

Geography even seems to hold back London, where businesses take 37 days (three more than the national average) to fill new roles.

In addition, 37% of UK businesses still advertise in newspapers and magazines to find new talent. Despite the digital age, ‘offline’ routes to talent remain more popular than posting an online job advert (31%), LinkedIn (25%) or using social media (19%).

Hayley Conick, Upwork Country Manager, said: “The current way in which businesses find new talent is broken — it’s inefficient and often ineffective. It’s particularly worrying to learn that UK businesses are being prevented from growing both in terms of winning new work as well as losing existing clients as a result of inefficient processes for finding talent.

"Today, businesses have access to a global pool of talent at the click of a button. However, when only 4% of businesses are looking beyond UK borders, is it any wonder we’re falling behind?”