Hiring in 2022: 3 Tips for Employers Struggling to Recruit

It’s a Candidate’s Market

In case you missed the recent labour market news: for the first time ever, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that there are currently more unfilled jobs than there are unemployed people in the UK.

Between January and March 2022, the unemployment figure fell to 3.7%, which is the lowest it’s been for almost 50 years. Meanwhile, the number of listed job vacancies has surged to a record-breaking 1.3 million. Experts from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) attribute this market shake-up to a reduction in the size of the workforce due to Brexit, retirements and long-term sickness as a result of Covid-19.

An illustration of 4 people sat working at a desk with text which reads: The rate of unemployment has fallen to 3.7%, which is the lowest it's been for almost 50 years

On top of juggling candidate shortages, we’re now witnessing ‘The Great Resignation’ and that title is by no means an exaggeration. 994,000 UK workers have moved from one job to another within the first quarter of 2022 alone, driven by resignations rather than dismissals. This trend shows no sign of slowing down as a recent survey found that more than a third of UK employees are considering a job change this year.

An illustration of a woman walking up an up arrow holding a suitcase. There is text which reads: 994,000 UK workers have moved from one job to another within the first quarter of 2022

 

In this increasingly competitive market, it's proving difficult for hiring managers to get candidates over the finishing line of the interview process, before accepting another opportunity and that’s without having to overcome the challenges of current employees being poached left, right and centre.

Here are our tips to help you successfully fill your vacancies and minimise staff turnover.

 

How to Successfully Hire and Retain Employees

Distinguish Your Brand

Candidates and employees are now in a position of power where they can afford to be selective. Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a shift in what people want from their working life, and it's often more than just a bigger paycheck, they want to work for a company they believe in, that aligns with their values and offers job satisfaction and flexibility. Establishing a strong, inclusive and opportunistic brand proposition and culture, is the only way you’ll successfully attract and retain talent in this competitive market.

A woman holding two children, they're all looking at a tablet.

This is a great time to revisit your business’ vision and values, to ensure they’re clear and meaningful and then communicate this to both internal and external parties. Aim to build a story that others can invest in.

Hiring Staff

With websites like Glassdoor, it’s not enough to just say the right things – you need to put them into action. For example, if your company is a big advocate of employee work-life balance, consider whether you can facilitate benefits like hybrid/remote work, job-sharing or 4-day working weeks. This puts your company in good standing to compete for a shrinking workforce, which has largely been attributed to increased retirements from people aged 50 to 64. This demographic wants part-time work, so accommodating flexibility allows you to tap into a whole new pool of talent with extensive experience.

Retaining Staff

Making these adjustments will also help to build internal brand advocates. Remember, no marketing activity will ever be as influential as the word-of-mouth. If your staff are happy and motivated then they will be more inclined, not only to stay but to encourage their networks to apply to your vacant positions.

Two work professionals sat at a table, smiling an laughing.

 

Offer a Genuinely Competitive Salary

Despite current job market conditions and other external factors such as the devastating war in Ukraine, wages have failed to keep up with the cost-of-living in the UK. From January to March of 2022, the cost-of-living and wages have increased by 7% and 4.2% respectively.

Hiring Staff

When refilling or creating a new position, always research the average salary for that specific role in your industry and region. There are a number of resources out there to help you do this, including our annual salary survey. Matching or surpassing the market rate will put you in good stead when advertising your vacancy, and we strongly advise you to state the salary range on your job advert. Last year, reed.co.uk found that job adverts disclosing the salary saw a 27% increase in applications, compared to jobs that didn’t.

Illustration of a phone with loose change, a credit card and a receipt on it. There is also text which reads: Reed.co.uk found that job adverts disclosing the salary saw a 27% increase in applications

Retaining Staff

In retaining staff, Line Managers need to be actively reviewing salaries every 6 to 12 months. Set structured meetings with your employees to discuss SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) KPIs that can be reviewed. If you don’t have any flexibility in your budget to give your employees pay rises, you should be transparent about this and offer alternative financial support. For example, you could increase the number of work from home days to cut commuting costs and/or provide free lunch options.

 

Streamline Your Interview Process

A recurring trend we're seeing is the incredibly rapid recruitment process. The stages from initial application to offer receival, appears to be happening in under 2 weeks. This means hiring managers need to move quickly to secure top candidates.

Elevation Recruitment Group’s Business Service Director Sarah-Lee Neesam advises employers to remove any unnecessary interview stages:

“We have not seen a market move this quickly in over 10 years, as quick as candidates start to look for a new role they are snapped up within a matter of weeks. Employers need to match the pace of the market and the needs of candidates if they want to secure top talent and not miss the boat. We are advising our clients to be flexible, offering video calls as 1st stage interviews (so people don’t need to book an annual leave) and not waiting for comparisons. Unfortunately, it is a candidate-driven market and if you like the candidate and know they can do the job – hire them!”

A man attending a virtual interview.

 

Conclusion

The current job market demands a lot more of employees than we’ve previously seen, however, it is possible to navigate the chaos and hire top talent. It’s all about creating an honest dialogue with the candidate and/or employee, and being open-minded to salary negotiations, flexible working arrangements or culture shifts to reach a compromise that benefits both the business and the individual.

 

Can We Help Further?

We appreciate that this is a lot of information to digest so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our specialist recruiters.

If you’d like to chat, please call us on 01709 723 248 or complete our contact form and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

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