Tag: vacancies

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 number of applicants per vacancy (APV) declined significantly across three key sectors in the first half of the year as vacancies have surged, according to data from Broadbean.

Across manufacturing and production, vacancies rose by 32%, while the APV was down 46%. Sectors experiencing the largest fall in applicant numbers were logistics & supply chain and retail, with the former seeing vacancies rise 85% and the AVP decreasing by 60%. The latter saw roles increase by 101% and applicant numbers dropped by 55% between quarter one and quarter two 2021.

Retail has been hit hardest by the so-called ‘pingdemic’, with large employers reporting that entire stores are being forced to shut because of staff needing to isolate.

“The fact that we are seeing applicant numbers fall and companies starting to really struggle to recruit is worrying and could hamper the UK’s ability to build back after the pandemic,” said Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology. “And while we expect applicant numbers to pick up once again in September after the usual summer lull, the next few weeks will prove a testing time for the employment market, particular given the huge numbers of people isolating.”

The latest Report on Jobs survey by the REC and KPMG showed that recruitment activity continued to rise sharply across the UK at the start of the third quarter, with permanent and temp billings both rising at near-record rates and starting salaries increasing at the quickest pace on record.

It found that that rising demand for staff as restrictions ended and a further marked drop in candidate supply have accelerated increases in permanent starting salaries, with the rate of salary inflation the sharpest seen in nearly 24 years of data collection. In contrast, temporary/contract staff hourly pay rates rose at the second-quickest rate since the survey began.

Overall, candidate numbers fell at the second-sharpest rate in the survey history, easing only slightly from June’s record, with Brexit cited as a key factor reducing the supply of workers, especially temporary staff.

“While companies want to invest in their business now that restrictions are lifting, demand for new staff still outstrips supply due to low candidate availability,” said Claire Warnes, Partner and Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK. “We know that reskilling and upskilling is needed to help people move between sectors, and there’s no doubt the ‘pingdemic’ has added an extra dimension to the recruitment challenge. Plus, with furlough due to end soon, there may be a downward pressure on pay to come.”

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With the arrival of the pandemic, the need arose for fast digital transformations and an agile working approach to the ‘stay at home’ orders issued at the beginning of the first lockdown in March of 2020. The increased need for technology solutions for businesses to continue operating during the most uncertain economic climate seen in a lifetime, could be directly related to the increase in vacancies for IT professionals that have continued to accelerate in 2021. Hiring levels in June represent the fourth record breaking month of the year and according to research conducted by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), hiring levels in the first half of 2021 currently make up 91 percent of the total of tech hires for the whole of 2020.

Hybrid working drives demand for IT professionals as the economy comes back to life

Gone are the days of full time, office-based working. Many businesses are now implementing hybrid working policies that allow for employees to split their work hours between home and the office. According to business intelligence specialists Vacancysoft, this new way of work has seen firms in England and Wales post 11,553 vacancies in June alone, marking the first time this year that hiring levels have breached 10,000. This sudden burst of advertised positions can be attributed to the removal of the work-from-home rule on 19 July, Freedom Day in the UK, and companies were pressed to have their hybrid working models in place and operational.

Data from Vacancysoft also revealed that the technology arena was responsible for the most professional IT vacancies which made up 43.2 percent of total vacancies in June of this year.  Banking followed in second place, with 12.4 percent.

Amazon retains spot as top hirer   

Across the companies hiring for IT talent in the first half of 2021, Amazon topped the table with 854 vacancies. The data also reveals that there was notable hiring activity at Sky, which published 771 senior IT roles in the first six months of the year, and JPMorgan Chase & Co who recruited for 742 tech experts over the same period.

Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo comments: “The fact that IT vacancies continue to perform so well is incredibly encouraging and reflective of not only the huge reliance on remote working, but also employers’ reliance on these experts to facilitate and implement hybrid working models as Freedom Day approached in June.  As the country continues to open up and recover from the pandemic we don’t expect any let up in demand for IT talent as hybrid working practices look set to be a firm part of our future.”

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The number of job vacancies in the UK has now surpassed pre-pandemic levels, with falls in redundancy and unemployment levels also pointing to much brighter prospects for UK workers than was the case a year ago.

 

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that there were 862,000 vacancies in the April to June period, 77,500 more than in January to March 2020.

 

The ONS also reported that redundancy rates had fallen back to pre-pandemic levels during the quarter, with the unemployment rate falling 0.2 percentage points to 4.8%.

 

However, the number of payrolled employees has only risen above the levels seen before the first lockdown in some regions – the North East, North West, East Midlands and Northern Ireland.

 

Across the UK as a whole, while the number of employees rose 356,000 in June to 28.9 million, this figure remains 206,000 below February 2020 levels, suggesting that while there may be a high number of vacancies, some are going unfilled.

 

Indeed, Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), said: “Demand for staff is incredibly high right now, and recruiters are working flat out to fill roles – but serious worker shortages across the economy threaten to slow the recovery, especially in sectors like logistics, hospitality and IT.

 

“Firms need to be thinking hard about their offer to potential employees at a time like this, and government can support them by addressing long-standing business concerns about how the skills system supports our economy.”

 

‘Stick rather than twist’

Some of the shortages have come about due to the rapid reopening of the UK economy, but Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo, said there are also other factors at play.

 

“Aside from the struggles that staffing companies faced as hiring stalled at the beginning of the pandemic, available talent pools have also been impacted by both Brexit and the roll out of Off Payroll earlier this year.

 

“Temporary resources play a critical role in filling both sudden spikes in demand and resourcing gaps, but this segment of the workforce has been significantly impacted as IR35 was rolled out and the ability to tap into European contingent resources became unnecessarily complex following the UK’s exit from the Bloc.”

 

Emotional factors are also playing a part, added Kieran Boyle, Managing Director at CBK Recruitment: “We’ve found the candidate side of the market is as quiet as we have known, with very few people actively looking to make a move at present.

 

“The pandemic has created a safety first mindset, with people choosing to stick rather than twist. In certain sectors of the market, such as insurance, there are a phenomenal amount of vacancies, which has pushed salaries up as firms compete to nab what little talent there is available.”

 

Vacancies would seem to be leading to pay increases in other industries as well, with the ONS data showing that growth in annual average pay for the March to May period was an inflation-busting 7.3% for total pay and 6.6% for regular pay (excluding bonuses).

 

However, the ONS noted the rises were perhaps not quite as impressive as the first appeared: “Annual growth in average employee pay is being affected by temporary factors that have inflated the increase in the headline growth rate. These are compositional effects where there has been a fall in the number and proportion of lower-paid employee jobs so increasing average earnings and base effects where the latest months are now compared with the start of the coronavirus pandemic, when earnings were first affected and pushed down.”

 

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There is growing evidence of a serious mismatch between supply and demand in the UK’s jobs market, with vacancies rising at record rates but the candidate pool drying up.

Last week job listing site Reed reported that more than 275,000 new jobs were added to its site in May, the highest monthly total since just before the financial crisis hit in February 2008.

And this week, the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey reported the biggest boost to the jobs outlook for 20 years as companies recruited at pace to keep up with the reopening of the economy.

Its survey, which collected responses from 1,764 UK employers, recorded a 13-point quarter-on-quarter increase in hiring intentions for the third quarter, with the UK’s growth higher than any European country except for Ireland.

Chris Gray, Director at ManpowerGroup UK, said: “After the weakest 12 months for the UK’s jobs outlook in 30 years, employers are raring to get back to normal and capture the wave of pent-up consumer demand. The employment outlook has seen the sharpest quarter-on-quarter increase since 2002 and the largest year-on-year record to date.

“Much of this is likely to be companies making up for hiring freezes and redundancies undertaken over the past 12 months. The dramatic growth in hiring intentions among small (15%) and mid-sized (19%) businesses – so often the real engines of economic growth – is a shot in the arm for UK plc.”

Taking a long-term view

Similarly, the latest KPMG/REC UK Report on Jobs, compiled by IHS Markit, revealed that demand for workers hit a 23-year high in May.

Interestingly, its survey of 400 recruitment and employment consultancies suggested that businesses were now feeling confident enough to commit to permanent employees, after a period in which many companies opted for temporary hires due to uncertainty over the pandemic.

It reported that in May permanent placements saw the sharpest rise in more than 23-and-a-half years of data collection.

Claire Warnes, Partner and Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK, said: “With demand for workers in May increasing at the fastest rate in 23 years, the jobs market seems to be firing on all cylinders, and we need this momentum to continue for our economy and businesses to fully bounce back.”

Workers in short supply

However, while this increase in confidence is certainly being celebrated, there are also warnings of a shortage of workers.

Warnes added: “The deterioration in staff supply intensified this month, with overall candidate availability declining at the quickest rate since May 2017. This is a worrying trend and the message is clear: we need businesses and recruiters working alongside government to urgently address the skills gap by supporting candidates and employees to upskill and reskill to move into new roles. This will be crucial to our recovery from the pandemic and the levelling up of opportunities across the UK.”

ManpowerGroup’s Gray echoed this sentiment and said that 77% of UK employers were currently struggling to meet skills shortages, with the number having more than doubled from the 35% seen in 2019.

He added: “Sectors like hospitality have never experienced anything like this sudden snapback in hiring. The war for talent is hotting up. Employers are desperate to hire experienced chefs, waiting staff, retail workers and more, not least many due to post-Brexit skills shortages in many of these roles.”

This aligned with data from job boards network Broadbean Technology, which reported that the hospitality sector reported the highest vacancy numbers in May since early 2020, with postings up 34% on April. Retail vacancies soared by 50% in the first three weeks of the month alone.

However, Broadbean had already warned of an 82% decrease in application numbers in April and Managing Director Alex Fourlis said things were only getting worse on that front.

Wage rises inevitable?

“The impact of both Brexit and the pandemic on staff availability is continuing to play out as this demand rises. While we expect this jobs growth to continue, we could soon see the gap in supply and demand drive wages up,” he said.

Already, ManpowerGroup has reported that skills shortages in logistics have led to significant wage rises for drivers, with increases of as much as 20% having already been handed out and “tens of thousands” more vacancies to fill in the sector.

However, Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, pointed out that employers struggling to find staff needed to consider more than just pay. “Employers must think about how they can attract the staff they need, for example by looking at the wage and benefits package on offer – there is particular demand for more flexible and hybrid work.”

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