Tag: skills shortages

Firms with slow hiring processes are losing out

According to the latest data from the ONS, the UK is still in the midst of a skills shortage, with vacancy numbers still historically high, despite signs of slowing month-on-month. However, according to a study by background screening and identity services firm, Sterling, slow hiring processes are adding to these recruitment challenges.

The data, which comes from a global survey of more than 1,200 HR professionals and perspectives from more than 3,700 recent job seekers, suggests that half of the UK’s employers can’t find enough qualified candidates for the roles they have, with almost a third (29%) revealing that their direct competitors are beating them in the race for top talent. 

The study also revealed that a significant proportion of employers are losing out to the competition due to slow hiring processes. Of the jobseekers surveyed, 71% revealed that they had either dropped out or considered dropping out of their most recent recruitment experience. The top three reasons cited for this were; the process was taking too long, it was too complicated or there were too many touchpoints. 

Steve Smith, President International at Sterling commented: “While 2022 was a year of record-breaking vacancy numbers across the UK, the war for talent is still raging on. The UK still has a low level of unemployment despite the increase noted at the end of last year and skills shortages are being reported across a range of sectors and disciplines. In this environment, employers continue to report difficulties with recruiting the right people. But our data suggests that this issue is being exacerbated by lengthy and complex hiring processes.

“A well-thought-out candidate experience is crucial at all times, though the impact is certainly more noticeable when competition for talent is rife. A robust hiring process shouldn’t create barriers for applicants. It’s crucial that employers optimise the process to streamline everything from communication requirements and screening through to on-boarding. Technology does have a role to play in achieving this. The right tech helps to automate elements of the process and speed everything up. However, for those firms turning to tech to improve efficiencies, the candidate must be front of mind. How they interact with the technology has a direct impact on their view of your employer brand. If the software being used isn’t built with the applicant in mind, candidate dropout rates will likely remain high.”

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41% of UK adults also wish they’d had access to more tech subjects at school

New findings released by Experis, global IT professional resourcing, have revealed that the country is harbouring an untapped reservoir of talent with huge potential. However, employers need to do more to communicate the opportunities and benefits of a career in tech alongside an expansion in the right training.

According to the research, more than a quarter of UK adults wish they worked in the tech sector – while nearly one in four would consider taking courses, like those offered through the Experis Academy, with the aim of moving into the industry.  With this sector continuing to face a significant skills gap in high-demand roles from software development to data engineering, this news is particularly encouraging for both industry employers and prospective candidates.

The research details other insights including:

  • Good salary: The greatest factor driving people towards a career in tech – 39% of UK adults believe the tech sector offers better pay than their current industry
  • Making a difference: One in five UK adults saying they would like a career in tech to help make the world a better place
  • Flexible working opportunities: One in five see flexible working are a key reason for wanting a career in tech.

However, the survey details some confusion with nearly a fifth of UK adults (19%) believing that a career in tech and a career in IT is the same thing ­– with more needing to be done by employers and industry to raise awareness of what such a career really is.

As the need for IT and tech skills accelerates, Experis is helping organisations transform their digital infrastructure, enterprise applications, cloud, and cyber security – through Experis Academy, a new solution from ManpowerGroup that helps organisations solve their pressing workforce challenges by providing access to in-demand talent today, whilst helping businesses build a sustainable talent pipeline for the future.

Almost half of those surveyed (41%) studied tech related subjects at school, but nearly as many UK adults (41%) wish they had access to more tech subjects and training at school. This indicates that businesses and training providers in tech and IT could leverage more homegrown talent across the UK by better highlighting the benefits of working in the industry and making sure that any skills and training programmes are effectively promoted.

Michael Noone, Academy Lead at Experis commented: “As demand for IT and tech skills outstrips supply, businesses continue to face talent shortages and bottlenecks, while our findings show there is great enthusiasm for working in these sectors – highlighting a largely untapped talent pool. While the appetite for working in tech and IT-related disciplines is clear from this survey, there remains a mismatch between the specialist skills that employers require and the broader untapped talent in the UK market. This is compounded by the speed of change in technologies and digital, making IT positions ever-harder to fill.

“But there is a way forward. As our recent international research into this issue has found – from talking to 40,000 hiring decision makers in 40 countries – employers in the sector must revolutionise their strategy, and think outside of the box to keep their businesses thriving and employees engaged.  There is huge potential to unlock hidden talent in the sector itself by reskilling and upskilling existing employees, especially those who occupy mid-level positions.

The survey is based on responses from 3,000 UK adults, aged 18+ and working in full-time employment. 

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Their offering now includes Executive Search and Talent Solutions, which consists of RPO, MSP, Project Recruitment

Morgan McKinley has announced a next generation of services to fuel further international success in partnership with the company’s clients and talent throughout the world.

The continued demand for a range of talent services, alongside the increased opportunities for companies to hire globally, has driven Morgan McKinley’s expansion across all markets to build upon their existing reputation in the recruitment industry. Their offering now includes not only permanent and contract Recruitment Solutions, but also Executive Search and Talent Solutions, which consists of RPO, MSP, Project Recruitment and more.

Gerald Fitzgerald, Morgan McKinley CEO, said: “The pandemic reshaped the world and everyone and everything that works in it. The evolution into hybrid organisational practices and working from anywhere has placed new demands on talent agendas and strategies.”

“The old rule books have been torn up and companies of all sizes now need partners who offer flexible talent strategies that help them gain a competitive edge through optimising recruitment practices, processes and technology. Putting employees at the heart of business strategies is critical in today’s climate where opportunities still outstrip skilled talent.”

This positions Morgan McKinley as a solutions focussed partner that empowers companies across the globe to meet their needs for skilled people and talented leaders in line with societal and economic trends and outcomes.

Fitzgerald continued: “We will bring further insights, expertise, and practical support to clients across our global locations as they grow their businesses through more far reaching and inclusive hiring practices. Importantly, we will continue always putting people at the forefront of the process.”

With the opening of a larger office in Shanghai and new service delivery centres in the Philippines and Chengdu, China, it enables Morgan McKinley to provide access to a wider, more diverse pool of talent for clients across the Asia Pacific region.

Building on a strong heritage of client satisfaction, Morgan McKinley now looks to the future.

Fitzgerald concluded: “From our initial foundation as a recruitment company here in Ireland three decades ago, Morgan McKinley has grown to become a multinational, multicultural organisation with people at the heart of everything we do.”

“We’re investing in the future, growing our teams, and scaling our operations to build the next generation of Morgan McKinley. This is the first step in our journey for transformational change, with the intention of doubling our global presence in the talent arena over the next five years.”

Morgan McKinley also unveiled a new brand identity which brings together the company’s strategy with an exciting and cohesive branding scheme, retiring its brands of La Crème, M3S Total Talent Solutions and Accreate, to consolidate under one brand name.

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More than a third of job seekers drop out of recruitment procedure

According to research published by Sterling, the majority (78%) of job seekers are dropping out or considering dropping out of the recruitment procedure due to lengthy and complex processes, exacerbating the skills crisis.

The data, which comes from a global survey of more than 1,200 HR professionals and perspectives from more than 3,700 recent job seekers, revealed that a third of those that dropped out said the hiring process was too complicated and 22% expressed an issue with the background screening process.

There is clearly a disconnect between employers and candidates as the research found that just 9% of HR professionals believed that candidates would find their hiring process complicated, despite a third of candidates exiting the process for this very reason.

According to Sterling, these results should be cause for concern at a time when skills are in increasingly short supply, with almost half of HR professionals surveyed revealing that they are unable to find enough candidates to fill roles.

Steve Smith, President International at Sterling, commented: “With skills in short supply across most of Europe, ensuring applicants have the best possible experience with a brand is of significant importance. However, this latest data indicates that a significant proportion of the candidate community is dropping out of hiring processes due to the complexity of requirements, suggesting the experience for the end-user isn’t as positive as it could be. There’s been a wealth of speculation that individuals are getting counter-offers which is leading to them dropping out of the hiring process due to opportunities elsewhere. While this may be the case, the insight from applicants themselves suggests there’s more to this issue that needs to be addressed swiftly. In the current economy, it’s simply not a viable option to overlook how important it is to provide an efficient and engaging hiring process for candidates.”

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More concern around skills hiring than the recession

Despite concerns about the recession, most tech leaders are planning their recruitment around market growth, says new research from Talent Works. The research revealed that leaders are more concerned about skills hiring than a recession and that hiring, especially in the tech industry, is aligned to market growth.

Talent Works’ latest study, gauging attitudes towards hiring in an uncertain economic landscape, revealed that despite the chance of a recession, over 61% of the 500 US and 200 UK tech leaders surveyed said they are still planning their recruitment drives around the market growth they are seeing.

The findings of this research align with the most recent information from The Office for National Statistics, which reported that the number of job openings in the UK from April to June was 1,294,000. This is an increase from the previous quarter. These numbers are still higher than pre-pandemic levels, indicating that worker demand remains robust.

The research also showed that tech leaders are still experiencing challenges with finding the right talent. Forty-eight percent said they are concerned about a skills shortage and getting the talent and specific skill sets they need to grow their businesses. A further 37% of tech leaders believe that flexibility in hiring models is a top priority.

Jody Robie, Senior Vice President for Talent Works, commented: “We’re still seeing high levels of demand for roles across every sector, including technology,”

“However, businesses need to find the right people within their budget to meet their growth predictions. We’re also seeing more businesses opt for flexible and embedded recruitment outsource (RPO) models as a way of extending their in-house talent teams. Beyond just getting resumes and hiring fees, this model allows them to understand the market and provides insight into the perception of their employer brand. It’s helping them to focus on growth, not recruiting, and it makes economic sense to establish a flexible sourcing relationship during a time when businesses need agility now more than ever before.”

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The rise in job ads speaks to increased strength in the labour market

According to data from ANZ Bank, job advertisements in Australia rose by 18.4% in June 2022 on a seasonally adjusted basis when compared to the same period in June 2021. This pattern of online job postings is being seen across the globe as skills shortages continue.

On a monthly basis, job ads increased 1.4% in June following a small upward revision of the May number. The total number of job ads in June exceeded the recent peak in March signalling continued strength in the labour market.

When compared to January 2020, job ads were up 58.9% while the number of job ads totalled 243,523 in June 2022.

Catherine Birch, ANZ Senior Economist commented: “Growth in demand for labour is still outpacing supply but the sheer volume of unmet labour demand suggests underutilisation will keep falling and stay low even as demand growth is curtailed by higher inflation and rising interest rates. The very tight labour market is a key reason why we expect the Australian economy will be resilient in the face of these.”

The Bank’s job ads data is based on information provided by the operators of Seek.com.au and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s Australian JobSearch site (Jobsearch.gov.au).

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Skills shortage remains a concern in the market

According to background screening and identity services firm, Sterling, candidate communication needs to move up the priority list as the war for talent rages on.

With the latest labour market data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS),revealing a continued increase in vacancy numbers across the UK and concerns around talent shortages rife, the expert Sterling called on employers and HR teams to prioritise high quality and regular candidate communication.

In a recent Sterling Live discussion, experts discussed how the war for talent can often be won through simply communicating to candidates consistently, from the first engagement right through their first days on the job.

Tom Stokes, Director at Sterling EMEA, explained: “The skills shortage has been a concern for some time now and while there is certainly a need to broaden talent pools, far too often, potential new recruits are exiting hiring processes, due to the process itself. When we consider how tough it is to recruit at the moment, once an offer has been accepted it’s understandable that some hiring teams or managers may breathe a sigh of relief. However, candidates are increasingly disappearing in that crucial timeframe between the offer and the first day, and this is quite often due to a lack of communication.

“Employers need to remember that for an individual, a career move is a life changing event and after the excitement of getting the job offer, they can face a lengthy notice period where they are juggling their current role alongside the administration that comes with a new job, including employment screening checks.

“Communication is key during this time. Candidates need to know what to expect after the job offer is made, otherwise, they can feel lost or alienated, which leaves them open to being lured away by other businesses. Starting a new job and going through an employment screening process can be daunting for anyone. Celebrate your new hire and maintain the excitement of the job offer. The more they are communicated with and the more engaged they feel, the lower the chances of them being enticed elsewhere.”

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REC says employers need to rethink hiring processes to mitigate skills shortages 

According to a survey conducted by the REC’s JobsOutlook, business confidence in the UK economy fell by 9%.  

This is the first time since February/ April 2021 that the barometer has fallen into the negative, indicating that confidence in the economy is waning. Uncertainty around rising inflation, labour shortages and the Omicron variant has increased over the past three months and this appears to the be the reason for the drop.  

Business confidence in making hiring and investment decisions continued to improve with a higher proportion of firms saying their prospects were still improving. However, that growth in confidence weakened slightly, falling by two percentage points to net: +11.  

According to the survey, growing uncertainty has led to an increase in demand for temporary workers increasing to net: +15 for the next three months; with demand for the next 4 to 12 months also rising by nine points to net to +14. 

Hiring intentions for permanent staff remained robust at net: +21, both in the short term and in the medium term. 

The survey also reported that in November, shortly after the end of the furlough scheme, 51% of employers had seen no change in the availability of candidates for vacancies.  

Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, commented: “While the next few weeks are likely to be bumpy, we anticipate a highly competitive labour market in early 2022. There will be particularly high demand for temporary work, which helps businesses to manage uncertainty and keep people in work during tough times. Firms will have to look seriously at their recruitment process and their offer to candidates to attract the staff they need. Recruiters are ideally positioned to help with this.” 

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Reskilling workforce key to plugging skills shortage hole

The newest McKinsey Global Survey on reskilling has highlighted the urgency needed to address massive skills gaps across all industries. The accelerated move towards digitization and remote work has placed new demands on employees who now require different skills to support significant changes to the way they work and to the business priorities their companies are setting.

Most of the survey respondents said that skill building (more than hiring, contracting, or redeploying employees) is the best way to close skills gaps and that they have accelerated their efforts to reskill or upskill employees since the start of the pandemic. The results also pointed towards a shift in the most important skills to develop, which leaned towards being social and emotional in nature, for example, empathy, leadership, and adaptability.

The survey suggested that the need to address skill gaps is imperative with most respondents (58%) saying that closing skill gaps in their companies’ workforces has become a higher priority since the pandemic began. And of five key actions to close these gaps – hiring, contracting, redeploying, releasing, and building skills within the current workforce – skill building is more prevalent now than it was in the months preceding the pandemic. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said that their organizations do more skill building now than they did before the COVID-19 crisis.

The redeploying of talent to new roles often requires some degree of skill building and has become more commonplace over the past year with 46% of respondents reporting an increase in redeploying talent within their organizations.

Additionally, the results of the survey suggested that this commitment to skill building represents more than a one-time investment. More than half of respondents said that their companies plan to increase their spending on learning and skill building over the next year, compared with their investments since the end of 2019.



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Recruiters report difficulty in sourcing candidates

A survey conducted by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) reported that nine in ten recruiters (88%) say that labour shortages are one of their biggest concerns for the remainder of 2021, while skills shortages are a major concern for two in three (65%).

With shortages hitting every sector of the economy and many staffing companies reporting the tightest labour market they’ve ever experienced, the REC is calling on business and the government to take urgent action to solve the problem.

Recruiters have a significantly higher number of roles to fill than before the pandemic, with three in five (58%) having at least 30% more vacancies than pre-pandemic. Of the 191 recruiters surveyed, almost all (97%) said that it was taking longer than usual to fill those vacancies, compounding the problem. Half (50%) reported that it now takes more than a month to find suitable candidates.

Recruiters reported several factors were affecting their ability to source candidates. The top reason was skills shortages (cited by 65% of respondents), followed by the new immigration rules (57%) and their clients not being able to offer competitive salaries (53%).

In response, the REC has set out a number of asks for both government and business to help solve this crisis:

  • Set up a cross-government forum including the Business, Education and Work and Pensions departments, as well as business organisations. This would restore the importance of workforce planning in the economic debate between business, government and other stakeholders, not only focusing on skills.
  • Broaden the apprenticeship levy and increase funding for training at lower skill levels. This would improve progression and transition opportunities for lower-skilled and temporary workers who need them most, and encourage business to do more here in the UK, not less.
  • Allow flexibility in the point-based immigration system and a visa route for lower-skilled workers, which would allow firms in the worst-affected sectors like logistics to access staff at times of pressing need.
  • Increased focus from businesses on workforce planning, staff engagement, attraction and retention policies. Firms need to raise workforce planning up to the senior leadership level, and work with key professional partners like recruiters to boost performance, productivity and staff wellbeing.

This also follows recent research from British Future, which found increasingly positive public attitudes towards immigration. Two thirds of the public (65%) agree that employers should be allowed to recruit from overseas for roles in shortage – showing that a more flexible immigration system would be popular as well as helping businesses to fill crucial vacancies.

Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, said:

“Worker shortages are a huge problem for employers and their recruitment partners, across all industries and regions. Vacancy numbers are far higher than pre-pandemic, and it is taking much longer to fill them. This is putting the recovery at risk by putting capacity constraints on the economy, as last week’s GDP figures showed. In our survey, recruiters also highlighted a wide range of factors that have combined to cause these shortages – this is a complex problem with no one easy fix.

“As such, we will only solve these shortages through a collaborative approach. We’re glad that multiple government departments are coming together in a joint forum to tackle the issue, but to be effective it must also include business and industry experts. Government must allow more flexibility in the immigration system so firms can hire essential workers like drivers from abroad, and also improve training opportunities for lower-paid and temporary workers. Meanwhile companies need to focus on how they will attract and retain staff through improved conditions and facilities, not just pay.”

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