Rachel Robins |

Competition for talent is a critical challenge for UK in-house recruitment teams, and the labour market looks set to continue to challenge us (See British Chamber of Commerce indicators blog).

The UK Engineering sector, in particular, reports a shortfall in new entrants to the workforce and lacks confidence that there will be sufficient, suitably qualified, people to fill vacancies*. Such problems, however, are not unique to UK Engineering.

For the third year running the 2018 UK Candidate Attraction Survey (download your free copy below) identified candidate scarcity as the number one challenge, affecting 68% of in-house recruitment teams. Some of the sectors identified as acutely affected by candidate scarcity include:

·         Engineering inc Architecture/Construction - 91%
·         Industrial/Manufacturing - 88%
·         Healthcare/Social - 82%
·         Education - 79%
·         Professional Services - 79%
·         Government/Charity/NfP - 75%
·         Financial Services - 71%
·         Media/Publishing - 71%

Does size matter?

Combine sector sourcing challenges with company size, and we get further insight into highly competitive recruitment markets. The SME category (under 250 employees) find candidate scarcity tough – over 70% rate it as a challenge as do 69% of the company size band of 1001 – 5000 employees. Conversely, many large enterprises (over 10,000 employees) report the opposite issue – too many candidates, which might seem like a nice problem to have, but brings its own challenges.

There are many reasons for talent shortages; skills gaps, intense competition, awareness/education, access to skilled migrants, pressure on salaries, lack of career paths within companies - all that need to be addressed to increase the skills supply and address talent shortages. When you consider there were an estimated 1.37 million unemployed people^ (people not in work but seeking and available to work), surely it is time to drill down into how industries facing talent shortages can address the gap between demand and available workforce. 

Immigration and freedom of movement could further exacerbate the issue, so the need to untap potential and use the development of skills in the workplace becomes a major boardroom agenda item. Imagine the scenario if these vital sectors, essential to society, fail to grow and develop because of their inability to recruit.

What can we do?

There are tactical and strategic actions that can help when competing for talent:

- Successful recruiters in these industries are not sat waiting for job requisitions – be proactive in sourcing talent
- Don’t delay in signing new hires
- Remain connected to your talent pool
- Careers paths should be evident as part of your company EVP and visible on your careers site. Showcase what a great company you are to work for

Peak Performing Career Sites are 7x more likely to have Career Pathways

- Breakdown industry stereotypes and revisit your workforce segmentation to consider how to appeal to a broad and diverse audience
- Do you know what makes talent choose you over the competition? Purpose over a pay cheque is essential to many, so know what makes you the company of choice!

Case Study

Travelodge, one of the UK’s fastest growing companies in a rapidly growing sector, needed to revisit their attraction strategy. Being traditionally heavily reliant on European workers they were keen to prepare for a potential change in market conditions. They needed to work harder to appeal to a wider audience.  Travelodge showcase their company culture and promote appropriate aspects to specific audiences, such as, for working parents, the ability to work school hours. This case study shares the challenges they faced and the course of action they took to deliver some remarkable results.

^Office for National Statistics UK labour market: January 2018
*Raconteur Future of Engineering

Which sourcing channels work best in your sector? Get your free 2018 Candidate Attraction report here: 


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