Attracting talent amid the Great Resignation

Photo of a group of people at a recruitment induction meeting

Many businesses are struggling to hire and retain talent following the UK leaving the EU and the impact of the global pandemic. Mentor’s Natalie Nelson offers insights to business owners with vacancies to fill.

According to the Spring 2022 Labour Market Outlook report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), 45% of employers report challenges filling vacancies, with many looking at increasing wages to address this in the short term. And according to June 2022 employment figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), unemployment continues to decrease (3.8%) while job vacancies between March and May 2022 reached a record high of 1.3m.

With this challenging backdrop, it’s important that recruiters employ progressive ways to address employment shortages, such as:

• focusing on well-being
• offering career-returner programmes
• encouraging flexible working
• planning workforce needs strategically
• investing in skills and internal mobility
• evaluating employee value proposition

The Great Resignation is a result of a number of factors including; a reduction in available workers post-Brexit, loss of staff following the pandemic with many not returning post furlough and poor succession planning, coupled with factors such as an ageing workforce. This all played a part in creating the current demand and supply shortfall, and businesses must understand why they have these gaps if they are to be successful in filling vacancies.

Here are 10 points for employers to consider:

1. Demand for skills
A particular skill might be in high demand and other employers are paying more for that skill due to inflation. But offering higher wages for a role to attract more applicants is only a short-term solution linked to the current economic situation. Instead, businesses should take a longer term view and try to make themselves attractive by other means.

2. Employee value proposition
Recruitment managers should remember that employees are now looking at an array of elements beyond their salaries when it comes to selecting an employer, so the entire employee value proposition should be considered when advertising for staff, not just the pay cheque.

3. Well-being
Offering or improving well-being and employee assistance programmes should be a priority for firms looking to hire new talent. Many employees consider these an essential requirement in a post-pandemic world. And with the current cost-of-living crisis, this includes assistance with financial well-being too.

Companies should invest in career apprenticeship schemes and other personal development programmes now to dial in skills that will be needed in the coming years.

4. Internal talent
Evaluating your internal talent pool and investing in training your company’s current workforce can be a great way to fill existing vacancies. Managers should first be asking themselves whether it’s possible to close skills gaps from within before looking further afield.

5. Career returners
Career returner schemes for experienced workers who retired during the pandemic, but now want to get back into the job market, can be an effective strategy. Many recent retirees are discovering that the cost-of-living crisis is making it hard for them to afford the retirement they had originally planned. Companies should also consider attracting job seekers who may have been out of work for a period of time due to factors such as periods of parental leave or factors such as disabilities that have made it difficult to travel to a workplace but can now work remotely.

6. Flexible working
The pandemic has created a re-evaluation of how work should fit into people’s lives, so a growing number of companies are offering flexible work opportunities. In fact, many job seekers now consider this to be a requirement for employment.

7. Company culture
It’s important to think about company culture and how to project that to potential employees. Strong diversity and inclusion policies and sustainability credentials, for example, may make employers more attractive. Younger people are especially trending towards organisations with a purpose, which contribute positively to society.

8. Employment perks
Employment perks can also be key to attracting and retaining talent in a tight marketplace. This can include offering savings with certain retailers, help with energy bills, employee retention bonuses and help with paying off student loans.

9. Strategic planning
Strategic workforce planning, based on data-led insights, will help companies avoid future staff shortages. Managers should be thinking about the makeup of their current workforce, and what it might look like in five to 10 years’ time, to prevent gaps before they appear.

A good example of why this is important is the haulage industry. Businesses might have been able to avoid the current recruitment gap for lorry drivers if they had prepared earlier for Brexit-related shortages and the impact an ageing workforce has had on this sector.

10. Personal development
Companies should invest in career apprenticeship schemes and other personal development programmes now to dial into skills that will be needed in coming years. A company that sponsors training and education will be in a stronger position when talent shortages occur.

Listen here

For more on attracting the right talent, listen to Natalie Nelson chatting to hosts Holly Mackay and Eshita Kabra-Davies on the NatWest Business Extra Show.

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