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The Tide is Turning

24 November 2021

By Kevin Thornton

A Reflection on the UK Recruitment Market

I’m drawing 2021 to a close early & preparing for three months in South America, off on another adventure because I can’t seem to sit still for too long… and I think this is quite reflective of the jobs market right now.

As my thoughts drift towards to the Colombian Andes, I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect on the seismic shift from an “Employers’ Market” to a “Candidate Market” in the UK. The experience of the team at Coyne, who’ve decades of practice in the industry, is that there has never been more interview declines & no-shows and refused offers than at any other time in their collective recruiting careers. 

Only a couple of years ago the recruitment market consisted of high numbers of (often over qualified people) chasing a small number of jobs. Things have changed and moving in an entirely different direction. The number of vacancies now exceeds the number of people searching for employment and many employers are surprised to see how few applications they’re receiving.

The market is extremely competitive, and companies are having to battle to attract and recruit the best candidate out there.

My friends and colleagues are recruitment experts within Employability and the Adult Education sector: What stands them apart, is the amount of attention they give to understanding what a candidate really want from their next opportunity and matching their experience and desires to our clients.

The truth is, though, we can only open the door and make an introduction to candidates that meet the skill level you need. Employers have a responsibility to look at what they’re doing and make changes to secure their ideal employee.

If you’ve felt the sting of candidate rejections and have struggled to hire over the last year, the five points below are a starting point to moving with the shifting tide:

1. Review salary & benefits– make sure it’s the most competitive you can afford.

It’s no longer sustainable to offer the minimum you can afford to pay. Salaries have risen by 7.3% in the last year alone. Review what you’re offering and ask if it’s appropriate to attract the best of candidates. Then consider annual increases to retain the talent you’ve worked had to secure.

2. Culture and Brand

People aren’t applying for specific jobs, they’re applying to be part of a particular company or a type of culture. Speak to your existing staff, find out what they love about working with you and make sure your recruitment consultant can convey this to your potential hires. 

If you were applying for a job would you choose the one which said “Our client is looking for..” or one that gives you an insight into the company personality and opportunities within?

3. Essential Requirements

It’s time to recognize that an arm’s length “wishlist” of role and experience requirements is simply going to screen people out, of an already shallow talent pool, unnecessarily.

Hone that list down to what is genuinely essential and be prepared to focus on behaviors and aptitude instead. The best candidates are often the ones working on developing their career rather than those who’ve become complacent over years in post.

4. Flexible Working

Flexibility on where, when and how candidates work are not at the front of their minds when considering their options. Employers with a rigid 9-5 structure working in the office every day do not stand a chance with candidates right now. In fact, I’ve found its also the principal reason people are leaving their existing posts.

Put flexible working at the core of your offering, move away from hourly attendance and focus on productivity, deliverables and outcomes. Trust the people you hire to do the job you hired them to do and they’ll go above and beyond your expectations.

5. Rapid Recruitment

In the “on-demand” era of email, Netflix and 2hr Amazon deliveries; it’s crazy that interview processes are any longer than a couple of days. The moment a candidate submits their application they’ll be hoping for feedback sooner rather than later. Give them the respect they deserve by reviewing their applications promptly and getting back quickly. Whether they go to interview or not, by not leaving people hanging on, you’ll improve your image as a considerate employer. Moreover the jobs market is moving so fast that if you’re slow to respond you’re at serious risk of losing them to another employer that’ll snap them up whilst you procrastinate.

Candidates are not short of options at the moment so employers need to act accordingly.



The guys at Coyne Recruitment are at hand to offer expert advice on your recruitment processes; reach out to Vicky, Pauline, Stuart, TJ or Orfhlaith to arrange an chat to get tips on streamlining your recruitment processes and filling the talent gap in business.

 

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