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Demand for IT professionals up 76% year-on-year in July 2021

Data preceding the pandemic highlights the true extent of skills shortages in the UK with applications to jobs down 47% between July 2019 and July 2020. According to real-time data from the global network of job boards, Broadbean Technology, the decline in applications, largely attributed to the pandemic, suggests that the UK was already experiencing talent shortfalls before lockdown.

Sectors worst hit

In the engineering, accounting and financial services industries, the demand for talent increased by over 100% in the year to July 2021. However, when compared to two years ago, Broadbean’s data suggests that talent shortages are worsening.

Broadbean’s data shows that engineering vacancy numbers doubled (up 103%) between July 2020 and July 2021. However, when compared to the latest data with July 2019, vacancies were down by 20%, with the number of applications decreasing by 54%.

The financial services sector also saw vacancies double (104%) between July 2020 and July 2021. But for July 2019 to July 2020, vacancies dropped 12%, and application numbers declined 57%.

In the accounting industry, vacancies were up by 104% between July 2020 and July 2021, but were down 31% when compared to 2019 figures, while application numbers from 2019 – 2021 also fell 56%.

Demand for IT professionals still rising

The fast shift to online working environments in the last year resulted in an annual increase of 76% in vacancies in the IT industry. The digital transformation of workforces continues to drive demand for this talent in this sector.

As Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology explained: “While there are ongoing reports of a post-Covid talent shortage, as the so called ‘Great Resignation’ impacts headcount and increases competition for talent, our data shows that the skills shortage was already well underway before the virus struck. Covid may have pushed the severe skills shortages the UK is facing into the public consciousness, but trouble was already bubbling under the surface in the early months of last year.

“This can, in part, be linked to the impact of Brexit on talent pools and the need for an appropriate visa route for independent professionals to encourage people from outside the UK to work in the country.”

Pre-Covid skills shortage

Olly Newton, Executive Director, The Edge Foundation said: “Figures from the Government’s own Employer Skills Survey showed 226,000 vacancies created by skills shortages in 2017, up from just 91,000 in 2011. These are jobs that remained unfilled because the right skills couldn’t be found – an economic and social tragedy.

“It has cost employers dearly – £4.4 billion has been paid out in the past year on recruitment fees, higher salaries and temporary staff. It has also cost young people dearly – young people who should have been given the skills they needed to get into and thrive in those jobs.

“Research from before COVID showed that these shortages were widening not shrinking. Research by the Open University publicised by the Edge Foundation shows that nine out of ten organisations (88%) report a shortage of employees with digital skills. Meanwhile, looking to the future, work by the Government’s own Industrial Strategy Council suggested that by 2030, 7 million workers could be under-skilled for the requirements of their changing jobs.”

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Relief for employers & recruiters already struggling with skills shortages

The Home Office has announced an extension of the temporary adjustments which allow right to work (RTW) checks to be completed with copies of documents via video conference due to pandemic restrictions.

The announcement to extend is a welcome relief for employers already struggling with skill shortages. In-person RTW checks were set to begin again in September with fines of up to £20,000 for those not complying. Companies have been gearing up for the change, however, the temporary RTW checks solution will now continue to 5 April 2022 and employers are still allowed to carry out the adjusted checks using a scanned copy or a photo of the worker’s original documents via email or mobile phone.

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has welcomed the delay to in-person right to work checks.

Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo commented: “While we look forward to seeing the results of its longer-term review, we hope that the success of the digital processes over the last 18 months leads to a more appropriate and modern method of managing Right to Work checks.

“Research from the Better Hiring Institute – which Chair of the APSCo Compliance+ Committee, Keith Rosser, is a director of – shows that at least 40,000 workers were successfully hired during the pandemic via temporary adjusted checks. This highlights that the digital Right to Work checks have been working. And with the UK facing a skills shortage at a time when the Office for National Statistics has reported a record number of job vacancies, ensuring employment regulation is fit for purpose in the modern world of work and doesn’t put UK employers on the back foot, is crucial.”

Keith Rosser, Director Group Risk and Director of Reed Screening at REED, has championed the move to extend the digital RTW checks. He said: “Digital right to work checks have been critical for helping the Levelling Up agenda, driving Build Back Better, and helping with the current UK staffing crisis.”

 

Permanent solution

Screening expert Sterling  has called on the Home Office to use RTW extension to drive meaningful change. Steve Smith, Managing Director EMEA, Sterling, commented: “This digital move delivered a number of other positive results, streamlining checks for some and expanding the reach of recruitment activity as a worker’s location became less important – a critical element in a skills short market.”

The Home Office also confirmed that they’re reviewing the availability of specialist technology to support a system of digital RTW checks for the future to introduce a sustainable digital solution which will include many who are unable to use the existing online checking service. This would enable checks to continue to be conducted remotely but with enhanced security.

Jason Medcalf, Sales Director at People Group, which specialises in pre-employment background-screening, added:

“Most recruiters feel that a return to manual checking of RTW, now or in the future, would needlessly apply the handbrake to the excellent work recruiters are doing to fuel the economic recovery of UK Inc. The sector is simultaneously facing the widest and most pronounced candidate shortages in years, plus a fundamental change in where, when and how recruiters perform their work.

“Research and business cases have shown that using the available technology as a precursor to human review delivers benefits ranging from filtering out fake and stolen documents that would pass a human-only review to halving the total length of time taken to validate an applicant and place them sooner – creating additional margin for recruiters, delighting end hirers, and mitigating the skills shortage.

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NASDAQ listed Staffing 360 Solutions, Inc., which is leading an international buy-integrate-build strategy through the acquisition of domestic and global staffing companies in the US and UK, has announced that Longbridge Recruitment 360 and The JM Group have joined to form The JM Longbridge Group.

The JM Group and Longbridge Recruitment 360 have been delivering recruitment solutions for a combined 57 years and form part of Staffing 360 Solutions Inc. In that time, the two firms have continued to grow by extending client partnerships across the full range of its offerings in the Technology, Finance, Business Transformation, Digital, Legal and Data markets.

Simon Girven, MD of JM Group, said: “Bringing the two brands together enhances our client offering, provides career opportunities for our team members, and supports the evolution of our business. With identical working practices, plus a shared commitment to client and candidate service, we will work methodically and diligently to continue to secure the talent our clients need and deliver increased value to the candidates who entrust us with their careers. It’s a great time to join The JM Longbridge Group”.

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Employers are ramping up their HR teams as the economy opens up, according to the latest research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), and the demand for human resource specialists continues to grow in England and Wales with vacancies up 18.7% in the last quarter.

Business intelligence specialist Vacancysoft revealed that total hiring levels for 2021 have already exceeded last year’s by 23.2%.

With IT professionals in high demand as work from home policies continue, recruitment specialists are now some of the most sought-after professionals with 6,081 jobs published this year alone, according to APSCo. ONS data also reveals that job vacancies are at a record high so it’s not surprising that there is an increased demand for specialists to manage talent attraction and sourcing strategies in businesses.

Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo comments: “Our data clearly shows that employers in England & Wales are well on the road to recovery with demand for HR professionals continuing on an upward trajectory. And with businesses not only hiring again as the economy has opened up, but also contending with some of the worst talent shortages in years, it is easy to see why recruitment specialists are in such demand. As we progress throughout the next few months, we expect to see the market for HR professionals continue to perform exceptionally well.”

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Despite new IR35 regulations and guidance in April, and the Department of Work and Pensions and Home Office hit with fines of £87m and £29m, respectively. HM Courts and Tribunal Service has fallen victim of CEST misuse with a total fine of £12m.

Commenting on the latest Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) casualty, Dave Chaplin, CEO of IR35 Shield said: “HMRC’s CEST tool is failing fast and now we are hearing of yet one more government department, HM Courts and Tribunal Service, hit with a high tax bill to the tune of £12m because it has relied on CEST to assess its contracting workforce. One of CEST’s major flaws has been its over-reliance on substitution, which any defence expert knows is folly. Over the last few years, many industry experts have pointed out CEST’s failings to HMRC but those messages were ignored and now we are witnessing the fallout and financial damage.

“My advice to anyone who has used CEST is to revisit your determinations and if they rely on a valid right to substitute then seek advice on the correct interpretation of the law. Also, recheck the status with the assumption that the substitution clause is not valid, to make sure you have not also been badly exposed due to the flaw.

“Moreover, it is crucial that once you hire a worker on an “outside IR35” basis that you continue to monitor the status throughout the engagement. Regular checking and gathering contemporaneous evidence are crucial in forming a pre-emptive defence.  Poor assessment decisions left alone, without any evidence to back them up, can prove costly as we are seeing with these recent governmental departments.”

The FCSA, the membership body dedicated to raising standards and promoting supply chain compliance for the temporary labour market, responded saying that it had expressed its concern to HMRC about the validity of the CEST tool. “The current fines perhaps demonstrate that the CEST tool needs re-visiting in terms of a valid SDC determination. In the light of the current outcomes, it would be silly for HMRC to simply press ahead without stopping and reviewing the tool.

“In the interim, marketplace experts, including many FCSA members, have developed alternative tools that can assist the sector in creating more accurate determination tests. So far, there is an ironic pattern emerging here in that one government department is taking money from another and so the government balance remains at zero. The real threat comes when other non-government bodies start to fall victim to huge fines because of using a government promoted test. That will not sit well with a sector that is working hard to support the government to ‘Build Back Better’.”

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Ninety percent of office workers want more flexibility to do their jobs, according to research conducted by global workspace specialists Instant Offices, who also found that almost a third of employees will look for a new employer if they have a toxic workplace culture.

 

If employers aren’t willing to offer their employees flexible working policies, they risk losing their experienced talent. A survey conducted by EY found that 54% of employees will leave their jobs post-pandemic if not allowed to work from home. As of this year, 67% of workers believe that their employers can successfully measure productivity regardless of whether they work at home or in the office and employers will be hard pressed to find reasons to insist their employees return to full-time office-based working.

 

With online job postings overtaking the number of candidates, retaining talent should be front of mind for every employer. The increased demand for work from home (WFH) and hybrid working polices is reflected in the high number of job postings offering it to potential candidates. For example, in the last 30 days, Glassdoor posted over 80,000 jobs advertised as remote work, and 490,000 jobs offered as flexible.

 

Lack of flexibility will drive out talent

With one in 10 companies expecting a full return to the office, competing businesses will snap up the talent who are prepared to leave their current jobs because of toxic work cultures and no offers of flexible work policies. A number of large consultancy firms and corporations have been outspoken regarding their WFH policies and have insisted their entire workforces return to work as normal, pre-pandemic.

 

A recent report from BreatheHR claimed that more employees are leaving due to poor workplace culture. This figure has risen from 21% in 2020, to 27% in 2021.

 

Having collected data and insights around the biggest signs of toxic workplaces, Lucinda Pullinger, Global Head of HR & Talent at Instant Offices urges employers to take action and discusses why it is more crucial than ever to create an inclusive and empowering workplace environment for their employees. Having collected data and insights around the biggest signs of toxic workplaces, Instant Offices highlighted the following to address:

 

•            Constant interpersonal conflicts

•            Lack of teamwork and camaraderie

•            Pointing fingers and blaming others when something goes wrong

•            Poor problem-solving as a team

•            Exclusive cliques or social groups

•            Office gossip

•            Work awarded based on personal connections rather than skill

•            Poor communication and lack of clarity around projects

•            Inconsistent communication and mixed messages

•            Unhappy, demotivated workers

•            High turnover rate

•            Stifled/ stagnated career progression

•            Lack of work-life balance

 

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In the last year, HMRC assisted more than 155,000 workers across the UK recover more than £16m in wages owed to them. They also issued more than £14m in fines to businesses who did not comply with minimum wage requirements.

Whilst most employers do pay their staff the National Minimum Wage,  HMRC has revealed some of the most ridiculous excuses for businesses not paying the legal minimum:

1. “She does not deserve the National Minimum Wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.”

2. “The employee was not a good worker, so I did not think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.”
3. “My accountant and I speak a different language – he does not understand me, and that is why he does not pay my workers the correct wages.”
4. “My employee is still learning so they are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage.”
5. “It is part of UK culture not to pay young workers for the first three months as they have to prove their ‘worth’ first.”
6. “The National Minimum Wage does not apply to my business.”
7. “I have got an agreement with my workers that I will not pay them the National Minimum Wage; they understand, and they even signed a contract to this effect.”
8. “I thought it was okay to pay young workers below the National Minimum Wage as they are not British and therefore do not have the right to be paid it.”
9. “My workers like to think of themselves as being self-employed and the National Minimum Wage does not apply to people who work for themselves.”
10. “My workers are often just on standby when there are no customers in the shop; I only pay them for when they are actually serving someone.”
Steve Timewell, Director Individuals and Small Business Compliance, HMRC, said: “This list shows some of the excuses provided to our enforcement officers by less scrupulous businesses. Being underpaid is no joke for workers, so we always apply the law and take action. Workers cannot be asked or told to sign-away their rights. We are making sure that workers are being paid what they are entitled to and, as the economy reopens, reminding employers of the rules and the help that is available to them.”
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With job vacancies hitting record levels in July, according to ONS, and Broadbean Technology revealing that application numbers have consistently dropped over the last three months, employers are turning to those candidates who came a close second in the hiring process in a bid to address talent shortages, according to talent outsourcing and advisory services provider AMS.

 

Those who have previously made the hiring shortlist are an appealing esource to employers but eraching out to them and attracting their needs needs to be handled with care.

 

Steve Leach, Regional Managing Director, UK & Ireland, at AMS commented: 

 

“Tapping into this talent pool is certainly a strategic move that we’re pleased to see organisations embrace, after all, these individuals have already engaged with the brand and have some connection to the business. However, how these individuals are engaged does require careful management. Their prior experience in the recruitment process and how their rejection was handled could impact the success of this interaction – and certainly highlights the critical importance of a positive candidate experience for future-proof businesses.

 

“The process of re-engaging with this talent community in order to fill resourcing gaps needs to be both personalised and streamlined. They can’t just be approached as a warm lead or even as a brand-new connection. They need a tailored approach that speaks to their prior experience with the business and convinces them why they should give the firm another chance. Technology can certainly play a key role in streamlining engagement with these individuals and, if implemented correctly, will provide a positive experience for these silver medallists, but the key to successfully enticing this group back to a brand lies in tailored engagement strategy designed solely for their needs and prior interaction.”

 

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The new partnership has solidified the place of video conferencing in the talent recruitment industry.

Global recruiter Hays has partnered with specialist tech provider Odro to deliver video interview and engagement technology to over 1,800 recruitment professionals across the UK and Ireland (UK&I).

The contract is a significant win for Odro, which has over 700 clients worldwide and more than 10,000 platform users. It comes just two months after the company announced an impressive £5.2m cash injection from UK investor, BGF.

Hays’ confidence in Odro is not only an endorsement for the business but the increasing importance of video software in the industry. The technology offers asynchronous and two-way interviewing, digital shortlisting, video sales messaging and content production.

Commenting on the partnership, CEO of Odro, Ryan McCabe said: “We’ve been really encouraged at signs that the industry is bouncing back and it’s great that video has firmly cemented its place as a must-have in the modern-day recruiter’s toolkit.”

Hays Group employs 10,000 staff in 33 countries and in the year to June 2020 placed 66,000 candidates into permanent jobs plus 235,000 people into temporary roles.

Roddy Adair, Director at Hays, said that it is constantly looking for ways to improve and upgrade their tech offering to support their staff in their daily operations. “We were really impressed with the implementation process and the approach by the Odro team from the outset,” he said. “Feedback from the pilot was incredibly positive, with great results and our existing clients have reacted really well to our new way of working, which has significant efficiency benefits for their businesses too.”

Odro has been shortlisted in four categories for the 2021 TIARA Talent Tech Star Awards, including the Optima Talent Tech Leader of the Year.

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HMRC has firmed up off-payroll legislation with new guidance issued in April.

With more employers and recruiters exploring IR35 solutions, HMRC has issued new guidance on Statement of Work to help them and contractors to avoid future liabilities.

“I’m aware of many incidents where Statements of Work are wrongly seen as a magic bullet to disapply off-payroll legislation and there has been a sharp increase in supposed ‘IR35 solutions’ which are simply a change in contractual wording in how someone is engaged,” said Julia Kermode of IWORK, a champion of independent workers and former CEO of the FCSA.

“My advice is simple – be very wary of these models. If a service is genuinely contracted out then a statement of work is perfectly acceptable, however simply amending the contractual wording in isolation does not achieve this and it is likely that you will need to consider the off-payroll working rules. There is no work around or solution to off-payroll, and the sooner everyone realises that the better.”

Clarke Bowles, Director of Strategic Sales at Parasol Group observes that the new guidance from HMRC on SOW has come at an interesting time.

“It would seem to be a reaction to some of the behaviours we’ve seen across the industry since the IR35 reforms in April,” he said. “How you assess IR35 is exactly the same for SOW as it is for any other engagement. Therefore, if something is genuinely outside of IR35 so long as it is accurately and fairly assessed it will be outside for both as it should always reflect the contracts and working practices, so there is an argument that actually getting to the root of the issue and amending contracts and working practices could be a better approach for many and one worth considering.

“Using a Statement of Work for genuinely outsourced services is a sensible way to ensure that expectations and responsibilities of parties are agreed and documented if it reflects the reality of commercial arrangements. However, as a way to circumvent the reforms, it is inappropriate and introduces unnecessary risk.”

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COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, and workplaces are reopening, but recent research reveals that three-quarters of UK workers fear going back into the workplace because it poses a risk to their health and safety. David McCormack, CEO of employee benefits and outsourced payroll provider HIVE360, says employers should take a simple seven-step approach that will support effective management of the workforce’s return to work.

Seventy three percent of workers admit they fear a return to the workplace. Responsible employers need to take action to support workers and ease their worries, to ensure they feel secure and comfortable whenever in the workplace, and know they have their employer’s support and commitment to maintain a safe environment.

The foundation to this is our seven-step return-to-work action framework:

  1. Communicate: Ensure workers know it’s ok to feel anxious about the return to the workplace. Encourage them to talk about their feelings so you can reassure them and take any additional action to ease any worries.
  2. Stay in touch: Make a point of checking in with staff regularly and ask how they are coping.
  3. Be flexible: For those feeling uncomfortable about being in the office, give them the option to continue working from home some days each week. For those anxious about a busy commute to work, be open to an early or late start and finish time for the working day.
  4. Be safe: People are counting on their employers to help them get back to work safely, and by putting employee health, safety and wellbeing at the heart of the return-to-work planwill help reduce any stress or anxiety:
  • Be COVID-19 aware, safe and secure. Employers have statutory duties to provide a safe place of work as well as general legal duties of care towards anyone accessing or using the workplace
  • Carry out a risk assessment of the entire workplace and implement measures to minimise these risks
  • Create a clear policy of behaviour in the workplace and share it with all employees. Policies should include the rules on wearing facemasks, social distancing, hand washing and sanitising, with the relevant equipment available to all. Include clear instructions on what people should do if they or someone they live with feels unwell or tests positive for COVID-19.
  1. Be caring: With concerns about the effects of COVID-19 on society and the economy, mental health is a growing problem, but people continue to feel uncomfortable speaking about it. This is unlikely to change, so make time to show you are an employer that recognises and understands by introducing and communicating the tools, support and measures available to them to help address any fears. Give them access to specialist healthcare resources, information and health and wellbeing support.
  2. Encourage work/life balance: Poor work/life balance reduces productivity and can lead to stress and mental health problems, so build-in positive steps to help the workforce achieve it by encouraging sensible working hours, full lunch breaks, and getting outside for fresh air and exercise at least once a day.
  3. Tailor solutions: Show that you understand that everyone’s personal situation is different and that you will do your best to accommodate it. Remind people of their worth as an employee, and the positive attributes they bring to the team.

Added benefits

Employee health and wellbeing support and benefits are a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have’. Onboarding and career progression, reward and recognition policies, training and development, employee benefits, work/life balance initiatives, financial, mental health and wellbeing support, are all essential components of an effective employee engagement strategy. Together, they improve and maintain a positive working environment.

HIVE360 is an expert in recruitment agency PAYE outsourced payroll. Our HMRC-compliant solution guarantees a speedy, transparent service, with no nasty fees for workers. It also delivers efficiency gains from payroll, digital payslips, pensions auto-enrolment and pay documentation support.

HIVE360 goes further. Our unique, customisable employee pay, benefits and engagement app Engage is provided as a standard element of our outsourced payroll solution. It gives workers access to an extensive range of health and wellbeing benefits and employee support services, including:

  • 24/7, confidential access to mental health support, counsellors and GPs
  • Thousands of high street and online discounts
  • Huge mobile phone savings
  • Online training resourcesand access to the HIVE360Skills Academy
  • A secure digital payslips portal
  • A real-time workplace pension dashboard to support employees’ financial wellbeing.
  • An incident reporting system to ensure the safety of employees in the workplace, which allows workers to – anonymously – raise serious issues or concerns with their employer directly through the app.

HIVE360 is a GLAA (Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority) license holder and is championing a new model of employment administration, redefining employment and pension administration processing. Visit: www.hive360.com

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With vacancy numbers hitting all-time highs in the UK since before the pandemic hit, online talent sourcing specialist, Talent.com, has warned employers that a lack of diversity in recruitment adverts themselves could hinder hiring strategies.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that there are more job vacancies now than before the pandemic as employers look to bolster resources as restrictions ease and business demand finally increases after more than a year of uncertainty. However, Talent.com has warned that an audit of hiring process – including job adverts and descriptions – is needed to ensure they appeal to modern-day diverse audiences.

Values and “must-haves” for job seekers have changed dramatically in the last few years with the workforce placing large emphasis on things that matter as opposed to higher pay. There is far more focus on sustainability and diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the Black Lives Matters movement has served to accelerate the much-needed evolution of hiring practices and other business policies.

Without a more diverse approach to hiring practices, businesses could see limited hiring success in the second half of 2021.

Noura Dadzie, Vice President of Sales UK and International Markets at Talent.com said: “With unemployment levels dropping as vacancy numbers rise, the war for talent is accelerating exponentially. The challenge for hiring managers now is not just to get in front of the right people before the competition, but perhaps more importantly, have the right content to push to these audiences. Job seekers are placing greater emphasis on diversity initiatives and employment culture in a post-pandemic world, but as businesses attempt to replace lost resources, too many are falling into the trap of pushing out pre-Covid ads and job descriptions that are arguably out-dated and irrelevant.

“Job seekers are more likely to apply for a position if they can easily identify with the job description and advert. If these do not reflect the diversity of the new talent landscape, employers will be on the back foot – a less-than-ideal scenario in a growing economy.”

Should you have interesting news stories to share, please send them to the Editor Debbie.walton@talintpartners.com

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The combination of the large-scale downsizing of recruitment teams last year and the huge hiring surge this year has led to a significant increase in the number of companies using project RPO.

For a report commissioned by talent outsourcing and advisory firm AMS, Aptitude Research surveyed 342 TA and HR leaders at director level and above to understand the key drivers of project RPO.

Some 42% of survey respondents said needing help to face a hiring surge was the biggest reason for using project RPO. A similar percentage (40%) reported that their recruiting teams had been downsized in 2020.

“The challenge for many employers globally is that hiring hasn’t just increased slightly, many TA teams are dealing with significant spikes in hiring, while doing so with fewer internal resources in a highly competitive talent environment,” said Maxine Pillinger, Regional Managing Director for EMEA at AMS.

“We’ve been working with our RPO clients globally on a project basis for years, but now we’re seeing an increased level of demand for a partner to help them meet their short-term demands while they still support the ‘business as usual.”

Multiple secondary drivers

The second largest driver of firms’ decisions to opt for project RPO was reducing the time taken to fill vacancies, with 75% responding that with project RPO they were able to reduce their time to fill to less than 30 days.

Expanding into new markets (31%), supporting high growth (27%) and having fewer recruiters and resources (23%) were the other main drivers.

The report outlined that while traditional RPO partnerships often lasted more than two years, project RPO engagements are most commonly for less than six months, and for more than 70% of firms they are for less than six weeks.

But as is outlined in a new TALiNT Partners white paper, this lower level of commitment, combined with the current high demand, has led many RPO providers to become increasingly choosy about which projects they take on.

The report, entitled: The art of saying ‘no’ and the rise of ESG’, presents insights from an event co-hosted by TALiNT Partners and Cornerstone-On-Demand, with views from leaders at Gattaca, IBM, Lorien, Reed Talent Solutions, PeopleScout, KellyOCG, Hudson RPO, Green Park Interim & Executive Ltd, Aston Holmes, Armstrong Craven, Manpower Group Talent Solutions, LevelUp HCS, Datum RPO, Group GTI, RGF Staffing, Page Group, Resource Solutions and Comensura.

Providers get picky

A number of guests at the event said the high level of demand in today’s marketplace meant they were having to push back on some clients, either turning down work or tempering expectations about when projects could start.

Joanna Fagbadegun, Sales Director at Lorien, said: “The market is exceptionally busy, especially on the tech and professional side. We’re starting to notice more urgent requests from customers looking for recruitment team augmentation or a head to manage workload. Sometimes the ask is just for a price rather than a detailed proposal, which can indicate they may not have a clear idea of exactly what they need, just that they know they need help”.

Several providers said the sector’s own talent shortages have become a barrier to taking on all the work currently on offer. “The market challenge is always quality of workers in recruitment to support growth and enable the flexibility for new offerings. We haven’t learned from past downturns and upturns in demand,” said Adam Shay, Global Marketing Director of Resource Solutions. Nick Greenston, CEO of Retinue Talent Solutions agreed, adding that the industry has focused on growing outsourced juniors instead of attracting and retaining more experienced talent.

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New study finds that only 46% of businesses invest in anti-bias training for hiring managers 

A new report by global emerging talent and reskill provider, mthree, reveals that 54% do not use deliberately neutral job descriptions, and only 37% anonymise CVs by removing all potentially identifying information such as name, age, and educational history.

Less than a third (31%) said that they request diverse shortlists from recruiters and 9% of those surveyed do not currently have any anti-bias hiring practices in place at all. Of those that do, 88% have noticed some improvement and 49% said there has been a significant improvement.

“It’s really disappointing to see that so many businesses are still not using some of the most tried and tested anti-bias hiring practices,” said Becs Roycroft, senior director at mthree. “Lots of businesses are struggling with a lack of diversity, particularly on their tech teams, and implementing even just one of these tactics could make a real difference. In order to see the biggest difference, businesses should look to tackle bias at all stages of the recruitment process.

“If chosen carefully, recruitment consultancies and other talent partners can be an invaluable tool in the quest for diversity, as they should have their own comprehensive strategies in place to ensure inclusivity. Businesses must ensure that those responsible for recruitment are able to recognise their own unconscious biases, and given the tools to approach the process as objectively as possible, to ensure candidates do not face prejudice at the interview stage.”

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