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Candidate Shortages? Really?

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Whether you’re actively recruiting or not, chances are, you’ve seen a fair few articles over the past few weeks regarding a severe shortage of job candidates across the UK.

The London Economic headlines “British employers facing most severe shortage of job candidates on record”, while Reuters leads with “UK employers face worst shortage of job candidates on record”. In studies, the British Chambers of Commerce found that 70% of 5,700 companies surveyed had struggled to hire staff in the three months leading up to June of this year - and it’s pretty safe to say that these numbers don’t seem to have switched much since.

It’s relatively unsurprising that there are countless more articles focusing around this subject and it’s not all too surprising that everyone from small businesses to major corporations are beginning to ask how this has come about. Now, there are obvious culprits. The pandemic has seen major changes in businesses and their operations around the world, with major shifts for many companies, ranging from company collapse, to redundancy to downsizing to switches to remote work. Brexit has also resulted in changes regarding employment. Amongst all of this speculation, many are failing to see that there isn’t necessarily a shortage of workers at all. Here’s some more information on the subject to help you understand what’s actually going on here.

Is There Actually a Candidate Shortage? ​

When it comes down to it, the simple answer to this question is no. The UK has more than enough individuals to fill the positions on offer. No matter what position you’re advertising, chances are, there is someone out there who would be wholly suitable. So what is it that’s causing people to not apply for jobs or to turn down jobs that they have been offered?

​Why Companies are Struggling to Hire

​There are a number of reasons that companies are struggling to hire right now. For the moment, let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons being offered by individuals in the job market.

​More Choice

​Over time, we are gaining more choice about the jobs that we apply for. More jobs are constantly emerging, with new roles, new industries and new fields of specialism cropping up for people to choose from. You may find that individuals who would have previously applied as candidates have retrained and are looking for work in alternate roles or fields. Throughout the pandemic, many people retrained and are now occupying completely different roles to those they may have held a couple of years ago. On top of this, many individuals realised that they could freelance during the pandemic. Freelancing comes hand in hand with a number of perks, including a lot more freedom.

​Caution in Switching Jobs ​

Many people are now cautious about switching jobs, instead favouring staying in their own positions to hold onto a sense of security and benefits that are earned over time, such as sick pay. Rather than letting go of what they know, they want to stick with a company who has supported them throughout the pandemic and that has proven that it can persevere and maintain itself through unprecedented times and circumstances. Often, these individuals find that other companies aren’t offering enough for them to walk away from something that’s already pretty good.

​Salary Expectations ​

If you’re finding that nobody is applying for your job, you may want to question whether you are paying enough. Many companies are stuck in the habit of paying the same as they have for years. With the price of living constantly rising, and other companies out there offering better pay, you may find the candidates you want have higher salary expectations that you’ll need to meet. If you’re advertising a role for less than a similar role that requires the same amount of expertise and effort, you can almost guarantee that candidates are going to choose the other company over yours - it only makes sense.

​What Can You Do?

​So, what can you do to get employees on board? Well, the answer is to provide them with a role, contract and working environment that they’re going to want to take. Nobody wants to work for less than they need to get by. Nobody is going to accept a low salary when there’s a higher one somewhere else. Nobody’s going to choose unsociable working hours if there are sociable ones available. Nobody’s going to settle for a company that treats them badly when there are so many that will treat them well. The long and short of it is that you have to offer your employees something competitive and desirable. The recruitment process has changed and it’s not all about what an employee can offer an employer anymore. It needs to be a healthy, two way relationship that is benefitting both individuals and that both individuals are benefitting from. So, take a look at your contracts and make sure they’re up to scratch. Consider flexible or remote working options if the role allows. Offer a competitive salary. Offer perks. All in all, be a good employer.

Hopefully, some of the information above will help to give you clearer insight into the job market right now. If you’ve been struggling to find the right candidate, or if it’s taking you a long time, some of the tips and tricks should work and get a new recruit on board before you realise it!