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Facing the UK skills crisis head on

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World Cement,

In Totaljobs' recent report on changes in the recruitment market, they highlighted how the UK’s low unemployment rates and changing candidate expectations have contributed to a very real skills crisis. Recruiters are finding it increasingly hard to find the talent that their businesses need.

John Salt, Website Director at Total Jobs commented, “The UK economy will struggle to maintain long-term sustainable growth if the mismatch between the supply of jobs and existing jobseeker talent pool is not addressed.”

Sector-specific shortages

A BBC review highlighted how UK businesses are at a disadvantage compared to other European countries.

“The UK continues to lag behind countries such as Germany, the US and France in terms of productivity (the amount of output produced for every unit of labour). Part of the answer comes down to the fact that there may be mismatches between the skills available in the UK labour force and the needs and expectations of employers.”

Sectors facing pronounced skills shortages include engineering, IT and teaching. In these sectors the need to adopt a candidate-led approach to recruitment is crucial if employers are to attract the talent they need.

Brexit: impact on employment?

Near full employment is set to continue with acute skills gaps felt across many sectors in the UK and there is no indication that this will ease anytime soon. Some disruption to the economy and employment figures may be inevitable due to the uncertainty around the outcome of the upcoming Brexit referendum.

After many years of turbulence, the construction sector has experienced strong recent recovery through 2015 and into 2016, driven in particular by housing and more recently by infrastructure. With demand at its highest point now for some years, employers are struggling to recruit the skills and competencies they need to deliver on projects.

In fact, it is becoming common for companies to turn down projects on the basis that they simply don’t have the workforce to deliver on them. Recent research from British Chamber of Commerce indicates that employment in the sector is falling short by at least 15% across all areas, particularly in specialist skills areas. 90% of employers in the sector say they find it difficult to fill vacancies.

The challenge for the sector is not volume of candidates, as large numbers are coming through at entry level. The challenge is attracting enough candidates with the right skills and competencies. Brexit may put further pressure on this situation, as skilled, foreign born UK residents may have to consider exiting the UK, draining further competency from the sector.

Employers who offer site experience and apprenticeships, working more closely with educators, can encourage a flow of work ready candidates into their ranks. But in addition, employers who acknowledge that many of the people they want to recruit already have a job will gear their attraction and recruitment campaigns accordingly, with that candidate in mind, positioning their employer brand, culture and benefits in a way that showcases them as an employer of choice.

Candidate-led recruitment

“It’s never been more important to ensure that businesses retain a clear focus on employer brand positioning across multiple channels to attract the right talent. This should then be complemented by initiatives that speak directly to candidates as individuals, headlining what appeals to them most. This can include company culture, not just skills and experience, the type of working environment and a business’ approach to work-life balance.” Comments John Salt, Website Director at Total Jobs.

Position yourself to recruit

Increasingly recruitment is about positioning.

  • It is about positioning your employer brand.
  • Positioning yourself as an attractive company to work for.
  • Positioning yourself to be in the right place at the right time to find the right candidate.

Edited from source by Joseph Green

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