Tag: skills gap

Inflation is at a 40-year high at 9.1%

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the UK’s unemployment and economic inactivity rates have decreased from March to May 2022 and is exacerbating the already critical talent shortages. In response, AMS (formerly Alexander Mann Solutions) has urged businesses to place more emphasis on internal hiring strategies.

The ONS data also revealed that, when adjusted for inflation, total pay fell by 0.9% and regular pay fell by 2.8% in the three months to May, which is certainly cause for concern given that CPI inflation hit a 40-year record of 9.1% in May and is expected to reach as high as 11% later this year.

Steve Leach, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, at AMS commented: “With unemployment and economic inactivity rates on the decline, it’s inevitable that the skills gap will continue to widen. Rather concerningly, the ONS statistics also reveal that wages are dropping when adjusted for inflation. With firms seemingly no longer using financial incentives to attract and retain talent, greater reliance on other skills strategies will be needed.”

“In my opinion, a lot of firms are overlooking a significantly valuable source of skills: their current talent. Identifying where internal mobility opportunities lie provides an opportunity for individuals to progress their career and move into higher salary brackets, which will not only help with filling the skills gap but also aid staff retention rates, particularly during the cost-of-living crisis.”

“As many talent acquisition leaders know all too well, there is no quick fix for the UK’s skills shortage, but opening positions up internally as well as implementing upskilling or reskilling programmes for current staff will really benefit businesses as well as the economy as a whole. A lack of career opportunity is regularly cited as the reason that people leave their current employer so ensuring companies are looking at their internal employee population will have a swift impact on skills deficits.”

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Employers rigid in hiring criteria despite skills gap 

Over half of employers (60%) are receiving more applications from candidates who have come from different industries new research by Reed.co.uk has revealed.  

The commissioned researched canvased over 250 hiring decision-makers across the UK and reflected an increasing awareness of transferable skills with an appetite for reskilling among jobseekers. The news comes after Reed.co.uk reported 140,000 courses were purchased in the first half of November – a 786% rise year-on-year – as workers reevaluate their skillset in light of the pandemic.  

Some employers remain rigid in their requirements of applicants, despite this wider range of talent that has become available to businesses with over half (60%) of hiring decision-makers still feeling it is important for applicants to have a university education, which immediately limits the size of their candidate pool.  

Hiring managers within the Construction and Technology sectors – who report more labour shortages than those from any other industries in the survey – are also the most likely to believe a university education is important for candidates. Whereas employers in ‘real estate’ (17%) and ‘creative industries’ (33%) placed the least importance on applicants having a university education. 

Alongside a university education, the research showed that employers add much value to soft skills, such as teamwork and interpersonal skills, as a result of the shift to remote working with two-thirds (64%) of hiring decision-makers in agreement. 

While a university education and soft skills are desirable for a candidate, some employers may need to become more flexible about their expectations, especially as over half (55%) of the businesses surveyed reporting labour shortages.  

Simon Wingate, Managing Director of Reed.co.uk, commented on the findings: “It’s encouraging to see that many workers are already learning new skills to improve their career opportunities. However, employers should be more flexible when it comes to hiring, by looking at workers who haven’t got qualifications but who are willing to learn and have useful transferable skills for a modern working environment. By sticking to a rigid, old-fashioned approach to recruiting, you could be discarding talent that could help fuel your growth plans in 2022.” 

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Organisations must enhance their employer brand and candidate experience in order to address the skills gap according to talent management specialists a&dc.

In response to the latest report of global skills shortage a&dc claims that this perception is, in part, down to inefficient attraction and recruitment strategies. Amidst calls to gear recruitment to international candidates, the talent management experts have outlined two key methods to address this issue:

  • Development of stronger employer branding messages that are geared to niche markets
  • An efficient recruitment process that assesses the intangible as well as the tangible and leaves all applicants with a positive view of the business.

Pip Clarke, Business Development Director at a&dc, commented, “The idea that organisations are facing a skills shortage has long been batted about the HR and business community, but there has been little agreement as to how this can be addressed. We are quite simply operating in a different business environment post-recession and the way we access talent must, as a result, adapt. Candidates are much more aware of the options available to them and as confidence in the market increases, they will understandably be harder to attract. However, by developing a strong, tailored employer of choice message, businesses can engage with the best talent.”

Using the right tools is also a must, as Clarke explains, “While the more technical skills of a role can be developed in an individual, there are numerous intangible elements that should play a key part in the assessment process. Often, when we drill down into the real skills gaps in recruitment processes, the key missing ingredient is the behaviour or cultural fit. Resourcing decision makers and line managers need to recognise that the right person for the role doesn’t have to fit all the technical boxes in many cases. With the right attitude, flexibility and ability to learn, an individual can add so much more to the business.”

 

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