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​Is the ‘war for talent’ sustainable?

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Perhaps a better question is, is the ‘war for talent’ REAL? Our answer… maybe not.

While recruiters and news articles seem at pains to communicate a lack of competent candidates for the hordes of jobs becoming available across almost every sector, from hospital staff to delivery drivers, hospitality, and more, the truth is very different.

Because the problem is not a shortage of candidates as they would have you believe. It is, instead, a lack of focus on the recruitment and onboarding process for candidates - from attracting them into roles through to retaining and rewarding them.

When you look at the changing recruitment landscape of different industries, you will notice that now more than ever before, candidates seem transient - jumping from one job and one company to another. But instead of seeing this as a lack of loyalty and a lack of competency, isn’t it time we see it as a lack of incentive to stay?

The Effect of Brexit and the Pandemic on the Recruitment Market

The stats are clear and very simple to understand. Businesses are claiming that they are struggling to hire and attract staff. But is this because there is a shortage in candidates, or is it because the candidates out there have become more selective?

Let’s look at some of the culprits which are being recognised and penalised for this shift in the recruitment landscape.

  • The pandemic, and the effects of Covid-19. Of course, businesses have had to change the way they operate as a result of the pandemic, with many closing their doors for months on end and the unluckiest never able to reopen again. Those that are reopening, particularly in industries like hospitality, are claiming that hiring staff back is more difficult than ever - but the simple truth of this is that the sheer volume of jobs means that candidates have more choice, can be more selective, and expect more from their salaries and employee benefits than ever before.

  • Brexit. This is being blamed for a severe shortage in every industry from drivers to farms, hospitals, hospitality businesses, and so much more - primarily because European workers who filled these jobs before Brexit are now no longer able to. With these individuals showing no signs of coming back to the UK anytime soon, it has fallen on UK citizens to fill these jobs - but many are considered undesirable with business owners facing a serious change in their operational structure if they hope to attract skilled workers to pick up such roles.

  • Inflation. Of course, this is a significant factor when it comes to applying for a job and negotiating salary, with workers needing to pay their bills and secure a wage which matches their expenses and lifestyle. Again, there is a lot more that businesses can do to attract people into their vacancies without submitting to the ‘war on talent’ argument - revitalising their employee benefits package and looking at wages to see how expectations can be better met.

Why Companies are Really Struggling to Hire

The reality of the situation is that there is not a shortage of candidates as so many would have you believe; rather, the challenge in hiring comes from an increasing gap between what companies offer and what candidates expect, a vast increase in the amount of choice presented to candidates (with many companies rising to the challenge with competitive offers), and people more cautious than ever about leaving the stability of an existing job to chase a new career or a promotion at another company.

So, what can companies, and businesses do to combat the REAL challenge being recruitment and hiring?

What Companies Can Do About It

The answers are fairly simple, but they require an overhaul in the businesses approach to recruitment - paying more attention to what it is that candidates want and what will not only attract them to your company but will make them loyal to you.

Consider these points.

  • Candidates want flexibility, now more than ever. Offering flexible hours or flexible working solutions, including being understanding of individual situations, will make your offer more attractive to those who value the work-life balance and want to integrate their work life into their lifestyle in a more productive way.

  • Candidates care about salary - and it needs to be competitive and in line with the industry trends - but they also care about other benefits such as maternity leave and pensions. Your package and offer isn’t just about money but about what else you can offer to candidates.

  • Consider your branding and reputation amongst employees. Most candidates are more likely to believe an employees account of working for you rather than your own recruitment page or marketing copy, so put the spotlight on employees and let them share their positive experiences.

  • Listen to candidates and employees alike when building out your new vacancies and employment packages. Make sure that you answer the most common questions, tick all the relevant boxes, and offer the best package you can.

  • Make sure that the role, the contract, and the everyday job itself all match up and are consistent. Beyond that, offer training, development, and support as much as you can.

And finally, be fair and honest with all employees and colleagues, to earn respect and instil a good reputation in your industry and within your business.