In the wake of eighteen difficult months for the recruitment industry, the beginning of the summer saw the market pick up.
Improving business confidence led to a steadily increasing flow of proactive businesses looking for new and permanent recruits.
Due in part to the changing circumstances and priorities for many people, we saw an immediate flurry of market movement, encouraging the positive momentum to endure; so much so that recruitment activity in June was reported to be at an all-time high.
Now, as the final restrictions of the pandemic are removed, there is little sign this newly found aspiration to grow will slow down any time soon, despite candidate availability declining sharply in each of the last four months to reach an all-time low.
Right now, this is the only thing holding businesses back and, as recruiters, we are seeing some worrying signs ahead as the battle for the best talent heats up.
So, what is the answer?
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to a familiar situation. What is clear, however, is that if we want to ensure the economy continues to grow, businesses, the government, and education providers need to be willing to reassess their plans and get behind the creation of a culture that supports training, reskilling, and upskilling of furloughed and prospective workers.
To put this high on the agenda – especially in the long term – better communication between industry and academia is fundamental. The Government, universities and colleges must co-operate with businesses to identify key areas where skilled workers are in short supply.
Positive steps have been made in this regard, with initiatives like Quickstart helping to build bridges, but this alone is not enough. We must take a collective approach if we want to ensure the status quo between candidates and vacancies is healthily balanced.
From the perspective of an employer
Flexibility is going to be important in the coming months and, as we adapted to home working, it is not inconceivable that we could adjust our mindset to see the recruitment of someone who has 75% of the skills you need as a good idea. In many cases, it may even be quicker to train people in the final 25% than to hold out for the perfect person.
Bringing in recruits straight from school, college, or university is another option. While it may not address your needs today, developing the right skill sets within your business will pay off, particularly if you encourage diversity in their experience by rotating people throughout different business departments.
For example, in an accountancy practice, rather than a graduate spending three years training in only audit or tax, why not offer them a programme of six-month secondments across all disciplines so, by the end of their training, they have had a much better exposure of the business and, probably, developed a clearer idea of what it is they enjoy.
In tight job markets, working with recruiters to position your business as a brand of choice is also important. I would say this but, with social media, people have access to many different channels of communication and the way your company is portrayed and how an opportunity is sold to them is crucial.
To be successful, you need to demonstrate what it is that makes you stand out, and that also goes for pre-planning ways to get your company culture across when the interview is via a video link.
The final word
If you take one piece of advice from this article to help with an upcoming piece of recruitment, please make it to act fast.
Taking positive and swift action is the key right now because I can assure you that talented people will get job offers quickly.
If you find the right person be prepared to act as, if they are truly at the top of their game, it won’t be long before one of your competitors snaps them up if you don’t