How to Leverage the Latest Recruitment Trends, Stay Ahead of the Competition and Become an Employer of Choice
Landmark events in recent history have significantly impacted the UK economy: Brexit, lockdown restrictions and furlough schemes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing national skills shortage all have a part to play. These events have also contributed to a shift in the recruitment market, impacting employers’ hiring plans, organisational policies like Diversity & Inclusion initiatives, accelerated digitisation rollouts as firms have had to rapidly adapt to remote working, spikes in demand for talent in some locations, coupled with a widespread shortage in skilled professionals.
In the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS) for Q3 2021, we surveyed over 1,500 UK employers to gauge their recruitment plans for the next quarter. We have the insights on who’s hiring for what jobs and where, which industries are thriving, trends concerning employee needs and how the skills shortage is developing – data that will help you stay ahead of the competition and secure the best quality candidates for your roles.
The Bounce Back in Jobs: Sectors, Locations and Roles In Focus
The recruitment industry has been hit particularly hard over the last 12 months, with it being reported as the weakest period for the UK’s jobs outlook in 30 years. Today however, the employment outlook is overwhelmingly optimistic thanks to a huge bounce back in job opportunities, with the sharpest quarter-on-quarter increase in 20 years, according to the recent MEOS. To reinforce this renewed sense of optimism, 49% of employers expect to return to pre-pandemic hiring levels by the end of 2022.
Concentrating on the outlook for the three months ahead, the data points us towards some key takeaways around who’s hiring, where they’re hiring, and which roles they’re hiring for. In positive news, dramatic growth in hiring intentions is reported among small (15%) and medium-sized organisations (19%), which will significantly contribute to the country’s continued economic recovery.
The Construction, Retail & Hospitality, and Finance & Business sectors are leading the resurgence in the jobs market, with a Net Employment Outlook of +11%, +8% and +8%, respectively, and seven of the nine sectors surveyed reported a stronger hiring sentiment compared to the last quarter.
Front office or customer-facing roles are among the top five most in-demand roles across a number of sectors, particularly within Banking & Finance and Utilities. The growing need for talent within these sectors results from changing consumer behaviours, with increased reliance on online banking and an uptake in smart meters, for example. Other roles which are high in demand include operations and logistics, and, unsurprisingly, given technological advancements and the acceleration of digitisation, IT and data.
Meeting Employee Needs While Tackling the Skills Shortage
The skills shortage was already prevalent before the pandemic and it continues to be a huge challenge for organisations. 77% of UK employers are struggling to fill their job vacancies – a higher percentage than the EMEA average – and talent shortages are at a 15-year high as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the right blend of technical and soft skills.
As the war for talent continues, employers are recognising that they have to think differently about how they can attract and retain quality talent. This could include moving the focus away from recruiting hard skills and focusing more on attracting people with different backgrounds, behaviours and experiences to make an organisation more diverse, agile and capable of meeting future challenges.
In addition, the rise in individual choice trend which we already recognised before the pandemic is now accelerating at pace. Our research and experience with candidates show that opportunities for learning and development are becoming increasingly important to workers. They’re attracted to working for organisations who invest in their upskilling, reskilling or training, to help keep them engaged in their role or further their career progression.
Building this skills development and training into your employer offering will not only help you to stand out from the competition in attracting engaged talent, but it’ll also enable you to directly address the specific skills shortages you’re facing by building learning plans that plug the missing gaps within your organisation. Share this responsibility with your workforce too: encourage everyone to engage in continuous learning and support them with finding time in the week to dedicate to learning opportunities.
For individuals who already have in-demand skills, such as cyber security, business transformation or sales professionals, they’ll likely expect increased salaries in recognition of the high value they can offer, so employers may need to review their reward and recognition packages accordingly.
Establishing Your Organisation as an Employer of Choice
It’s clear that to attract and retain the best quality talent, there’s never been a more important time to establish yourself as an employer of choice.
Take job location and remote working policies: these have now become key considerations to factor into your recruitment strategy going forward. Three of every four employers will require at least 50% of their workforce to be based in the workplace all or most of the time, depending on the type of role they do, and most employers are building more flexibility into working practices. For example, 36% of employers plan to introduce flexible start and finish times, 31% plan to offer hybrid working and 29% plan on offering flexible or condensed working hours.
This bodes particularly well for workers, who want greater flexibility in their work, along with the reassurance that employers care for their full spectrum of needs, by providing increased support towards their health and wellbeing.
Employers who continue to work remotely beyond the pandemic (whether they’re adopting a fully remote or hybrid model) will also have access to different talent pools that they may not have been able to tap into previously. Fully or predominantly remote jobs break down geographic barriers to entry for candidates, as proximity to the office no longer has to deter them from applying for a job of interest, and this benefits employers too, as they can potentially access the best talent from elsewhere in the country, not just within the commutable area.
To differentiate yourself from the competition, our recommendation is to find the best working solutions for your business that complement the expectations and wellbeing needs of your workforce.
In summary, the data shows that the UK economy and recruitment market is healing. While some employers and sectors remain cautious, the overall feeling among organisations we work with is positive, with a keen desire to return to normality. And whenever you’re ready to resume your volume recruitment activity, Manpower Key Resourcing is here to help. We provide end-to-end recruitment services across all industry sectors, using best-in-class technology and a customised solution that delivers continuous improvement for organisations. Find out more about our workforce solutions by visiting our website.