Where are all the candidates?

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Monday, March 21, 2022

Struggling to fill a vacancy at your company? Don’t worry; it’s not you—it’s the recruitment market.

The UK has been facing the most severe shortage of job candidates since 1997 due to both the pandemic and Brexit-related immigration policies.

According to the latest KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs survey, permanent placements and temporary billings slowed again in February. Availability of staff continues to fall, and vacancy growth is accelerating.

In late January, vacancies hit a record high of 1.2 million, which left many employers struggling. Talent is the core of any business; without staff, you can’t grow or exploit business opportunities.

Since the pandemic began, there has also been a dramatic increase in the number of people in the UK classed as economically inactive—individuals who are not looking for a job, and are not available for work. According to the Office for National Statistics, there are about 400,000 more people in that category than before the pandemic. A contributing factor to this is that many young people have chosen to pursue additional education instead of entering the workforce. Overall, this has caused the UK’s labour market to shrink.

As a company looking to hire, it’s a candidate’s market. With talent in such high demand, skilled workers can be very selective about their next roles.

What you can do to attract candidates

Be prepared to face intense competition for workers. To stand out from the crowd, your organisation needs to go above and beyond when it comes to the package you’re offering.

Start with your job advert and examine it with a critical eye. You may deter top candidates by not using inclusive language or by requiring skills that aren’t essential to the job.

With the cost of living rising, a competitive salary is another area to consider. Reviewing and potentially increasing starting rates for both permanent and short-term roles may help to attract candidates.

However, salary alone is becoming less and less important to employees when it comes to choosing a workplace. People are also searching for growth opportunities. Many workers are interested in  entering roles where they can see a clear career pathway and skills-building opportunities ahead.

Finally, and perhaps most notably in the post-COVID world, is flexibility. According to the job site Indeed, searches for remote work have increased 500% since February 2020. Candidates are seeking flexibility, whether that’s remote working, flexible hours, or a hybrid working model. To compete in today’s recruitment market this is going to be critical to deliver on.

Find the talent you need with Plus One

At Plus One, our highly experienced recruiters can find the skilled workers you need by tapping into talent pools that you otherwise would not have access to. This includes candidates who may not even be looking for their next role yet. Find out how we can help you find the skilled workers you need here.