The ongoing skills shortage is showing no signs of slowing now we’re in the new year, and employers now need to consider new approaches in the way they combat this growing issue.
There are a myriad of reasons why skills shortages are worsening, including a low unemployment rate, which has been affected by the proportion of the workforce who haven’t returned to the labour market post-pandemic. The number of people who have left the labour market rose by 252,000 from the three months to May 2022, the biggest increase since records began in 1971. The leap pushed the unemployment rate down to its lowest since 1974 at 3.5%.
This shortage of candidate availability has seen intense competition for workers, leading to further steep increases in rates of starting pay for both permanent and short-term staff. Notably, in February last year permanent starters' salaries rose at the second-sharpest pace since data collection began in October 1997.
An inability to source the right skills and talent can severely hamper growth for businesses, but what can be done to tackle them? In order to help address the issue, we've come up with five strategies that businesses can use to attract and retain talent:
1. Invest in Training
To alleviate the shortage of skilled workers, many companies have begun offering training to their existing employees, in order to tailor them to fill current gaps.
Several businesses offer their employees an opportunity for external training to upskill. While this option can be more expensive and time-consuming, it does ensure your employees are trained to industry standard quality, but can also serve as an incentive to attract a great deal of talented workers to your doorstep.
Some smaller firms understandably feel they don’t have the resources to meet the cost of training, but it’s likely to be easier and cheaper to train existing staff than to take on new employees. A more cost effective option is to offer in-house training, where a knowledgeable employee shares with others their valuable expertise. It’s a great way for companies with a few good resources to increase their value without expending too much time and money.
2. Expand the Search
Being proactive is key, you can’t assume quality candidates will find you. Try out different approaches in your hiring strategy:
Change your recruitment consultant - Why not contact Morgan Hunt? Advertise in new places Attend Job Fairs Use Social Media Use niche job boards Keep your website up-to date
You should also consider broadening your hiring practice. You could easily hire candidates that don’t fit 100% of the job specification requirements or maybe have less experience, without hurting your company. With this in mind you could help those candidates grow into the role and fulfil your company's staffing needs.
3. Use Contingent Workers
One of the easiest and quickest ways to tackle skills shortages is by hiring contingent workers, but this comes with both benefits and drawbacks.
Contingent workers are a popular option for many companies, as their availability and flexibility allow them to work within the confines of any timeframe, budget, and project, giving you the ability to fill gaps in your operation quickly and in a cost-effective manner.
On the other hand, companies should be careful not to rely too heavily on contingent workers. While a contingent workforce can help an organisation fill an immediate skills shortage, it isn’t the best solution for long-term growth because it doesn’t address the root cause of why a skills gap exists in the first place.
Morgan Hunt have 28 years of experience recruiting temporary workers within the public, not-for-profit and private sectors. We can help provide you with a diverse, inclusive and quality bank of staff. Get in touch here [email protected]
4. Rethink the Workforce
The number of people aged over 65 working part-time or on a consultancy basis is growing. These workers can be an excellent way to bring skills and experience into your business, even if you don't offer them permanent positions. Such staff provide expertise that may otherwise be lacking, and they can also play a valuable role mentoring less experienced personnel.
5. Focus on Staff Retention
If you want to ensure that your business has the best talent, it’s important to keep the employees you have. That can mean more than just paying them well; successful companies work hard to create a culture of loyalty, by offering flexible work hours or other incentives that encourage people to stay. Take a look at our blogs Key motivators in the workplace and How can organisations appreciate their employees? for further tips.
There are numerous ways to tackle the ongoing skill shortage, some will work better for your company than others. However now is the time to look inward at your organisation and assess its talent, the skill sets you’re searching for most likely live in your organisation already.
We’re here to help. If you would like more guidance on the current skills shortage, feel free to drop us an email at [email protected]