Change is afoot in the world of work. We are in the midst of a concentrated shift from a client-driven job market to a candidate-driven one, meaning recruiters and HR teams need to adopt a new stance when it comes to sourcing talent.
The enormous upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic means candidates are in high demand. However, many companies are struggling to find the right people as the pool of suitable candidates is scarce. To add to the challenge, prospective employees also have a refreshed set of expectations around a more hybrid approach to working in this ultra-digital age.
As such, striking a balance between recruiting the best talent for the job while quickly fulfilling businesses’ urgent need for staff is becoming a challenge, particularly when looking to maintain desirable levels of staff retention. Perhaps recruitment strategies need a rethink as the world changes?
A striking set of statistics
The latest figures from Reed and the ‘UK Report on Jobs’ survey by KPMG and REC lay out how the most recent lockdown developments and further reopening of the UK economy have impacted recruitment:
- Permanent placements have hit record growth
- An upturn in temp billings is the fastest it has been for six years
- May 2021 was Reed’s best month for job postings since before the 2008 financial crash
- The demand for workers has increased at the fastest rate for over 23 years
- The supply of permanent and temporary staff fell at the quickest rates on record.
However, although these results may be good news for job seekers, they present new challenges to recruiters looking to help businesses hire, as the spike in demand brings the labor and skills shortages that already existed in the UK into sharper focus.
With overall candidate availability declining at the quickest rate since May 2017, recruiters and HR teams must now pick out top talent from a rapidly shrinking pool. Plus, both starting salaries and temp pay are expanding at a sharp rate. Coupled with a growing desire for flexibility and a more hybrid approach to working, companies are under more pressure than ever to match up to candidates’ increasing expectations if they want to attract and retain the best staff.
Leveraging the opportunity
The shift from a client-driven market to a candidate-driven market means recruiters must adapt their approach to finding new talent by targeting passive candidates. When the demand outstrips supply, speed is of the essence, and consultants must move quickly if they want to snap up the best candidates for their clients.
As a recruiter, top talent will rarely fall into your lap — particularly in a highly competitive job market. Plus, just because someone is not actively looking for a new role does not mean they are not open to discussing and learning more about new opportunities. So, it is essential to proactively search for candidates already in employment and reach out to them to capture their interest in vacant positions.
Sourcing passive candidates, rather than waiting for them to come to you, has consistently garnered highly effective hiring success rates, with candidates sourced in this way proving to be more than twice as efficient as independent applicants.
For this strategy to be effective, recruiters and HR teams must make the best use of the digital resources at their disposal — as well as their professional network. For example, there are a wealth of finance and accounting candidates on social media, and platforms like LinkedIn are ideal for ‘headhunting’ skilled and high-level talent.
Step into the digital era
Recruitment is more competitive than ever before. And now that the market has become increasingly driven by candidates and their desires, it is the employer (and, in turn, their recruitment specialist) that needs to stand out and impress.
Candidates have come to expect more from prospective employers, and not just in terms of substantial pay packets and training programs — although these are also important to consider. After over a year of home working, many have come to enjoy a more flexible way of working and expect companies to offer it as a benefit. In fact, a recent survey by Barnett Waddingham found 34% of UK workers said they would resign from their current position if their employer failed to offer flexible working options.
In a climate where unsatisfied staff may be approached for — or seek out — alternative employment, employee retention is also more crucial than ever. Benefits such as flexible working can greatly improve productivity and job satisfaction, meaning staff is more likely to stay at a company.
Retaining new hires starts with the hiring process. The process must be tailored to employees’ new drive for a more remote and digitized experience while ensuring clear and consistent communication. To do this, recruiters need to make the most of the abundance of digital platforms available, using them in conjunction with more conventional hiring practices to provide the smoothest recruitment and onboarding experience possible.
By Julie Mott, Managing Director at Howett Thorpe. Julie is a highly respected and well-connected recruitment individual with over 20 years of experience working in the ever-changing industry.