Sitka Blog

Festive Fear: the biggest worry for employers this Christmas

17 December 2018

As workers across Wales anticipate a relaxing Christmas break, there’s a common worry troubling many employers: what does 2019 hold for my workforce?

A new report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has found that nearly half of UK employers who make permanent hires are concerned about the availability of candidates in the coming year.

In Recruiter last week, director of policy for the REC, Tom Hadley, was quoted as saying: “with near-record numbers of vacancies in the UK labour market (848,000 for September to November 2018), and candidate availability tight, the challenge of finding the right staff is set to intensify.”

The report says uncertainty around Brexit and the economy is largely to blame and suggests a high employment rate and an increased desire for job stability has lowered the volume of people seeking to move jobs, creating a dire skills shortage.

In spite of this, in Gartner’s recent Global Talent Monitor report 23% of employees expressed a low intent to stay with their current employer, a 13% increase from last year.

What’s no doubt making this an enticing option is the prospect of more pay. The demand for workers has led to the fastest increase in wages since July 2008, 3.3% year-on-year. We’ve seen first-hand that qualified finance candidates are among those who now come at a premium.

With less talent available, existing talent at risk of leaving and the likelihood of having to pay higher salaries, it’s no wonder employers are fretting. If your business success depends on your people (and whose doesn’t?) you need to be confident that you can attract and retain the right employees.

The good news from the REC report was that many employers are willing to invest in hiring in the coming year. But, with fewer active jobseekers, they will need a different approach to recruitment, one that incorporates the following:  

1. Appealing to the passive

We’ve long said that some of the best candidates are those who aren’t looking - otherwise known as ‘passive’ candidates - and it’s never been truer than now.

Tapping into this market requires a comprehensive search process and additional resource, but it will be more than worth the effort. You can read more about why prioritising the passive will deliver the talent you need more quickly and efficiently in our Business News Wales article.   

2. Focusing on what employees want

The Confederation of British industry (the CBI) found nine in ten businesses say that Brexit has hindered their capacity to recruit and train staff this year. Although it takes time and effort to manage talent, it takes far more to replace it. What’s more, improving your development opportunities can strengthen your employer brand making it easier to attract new employees.

As part of our service, we’re pleased to be able to help clients identify opportunities to develop their existing talent and advise them on how best to fill any skills gaps. You can read more about the importance of talent management for retaining clients in one of our earlier articles.

3. Getting the right support

If it’s harder to recruit someone with the right skills and you’re likely to have to pay a higher starting salary to attract them, it makes sense to get the appointment right first time.

One of the reasons direct adverts don’t often work on their own is because they only tell a very small part of the picture. A good recruiter is much better able to give the candidates a true insight into a business' culture and bring the role to life. This allows the candidate to make an informed decision as to whether they are a good fit for the role or not.  

Partnering with a reputable recruiter who can invest the necessary time in screening candidates, has built the all-important connections, and takes the time to understand your unique business challenges is a sure-fire way to make this happen.

If you’re experiencing more festive fear than cheer this Christmas, take the first step towards securing your workforce in 2019 by getting in touch with us today.




About the author

Ita McNeil-Jones,

Ita has nearly 20 years of experience in senior recruitment, marketing, and business development spanning the private, public and third sectors. She spent 11 years with Hays Specialist Recruitment, progressing to the role of Business Director within just six years. With a clear focus on delivering high quality services to both clients and candidates, she always specialised in appointing managers and directors to key roles. Ita left Hays in 2011 and worked as Corporate Events Manager for the Welsh charity, Tenovus Cancer Care, before becoming Business Development Manager for Cardiff and Vale College - one of the largest further education colleges in Wales - where she helped develop the College's commercial function. It was there that she identified a need for a Wales-based recruitment agency that could provide ideal, quality candidates. Ita co-founded Sitka to be that agency.

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