The CIPD’s recent Resource
and Talent Planning Survey sends out a clear message: too
many businesses are failing to plan for future staffing needs throughout all
levels in their company. Released in September, the survey highlights that less
than half (46%) of companies and organisations had a workforce planning
strategy based on a sound understanding of their current and future workforce
needs. Over two-fifths (43%) were taking an ad hoc, reactive approach to
As a consequence, many sectors and businesses are
now struggling. A number of factors have contributed to the UK’s skills
shortage situation but the lack of resource planning for future skills and
staff needs is now being felt particularly acutely. Temporary visas have been
introduced to try to tackle low numbers of HGV drivers and poultry workers.
Hospitality’s struggling, with some businesses scaling their services back as a
There have been problems with seasonal roles, like fruit and veg
pickers, where their short-term nature makes them less attractive to many
jobseekers. A lot of companies are having to increase hourly rates to try to
bring in the people they need. While certain sectors are having a particularly
tough time, businesses in general are finding it increasingly hard to fill
vacancies. So, if you’re in that position, where do you go from here to make
sure skills shortages don’t start harming your business?
It’ll need a blended approach, dealing with the
short-term challenges to increase the likelihood of finding the candidates you
need, while also taking action to plan for the future. Here are some
suggestions about where you can focus your efforts:
Recruiting effectively in the short-term
- Pay careful attention to your job
advert has to sell your role and generate enough interest so
jobseekers take the next step of finding out more, then applying. It needs to
provide all the key details potential candidates will want to know, including
the job salary.
Highlight all the genuine
selling points both of your company and of the
specific role so it’s as attractive as possible and has the best chance of
It’s also important to be realistic about what is
essential in terms of requirements to prevent limiting the talent pool further.
Stop looking for a unicorn!
- Get your job advert seen by the
Are you making sure your advert is appearing in the
right space? Don’t be tempted to post it everywhere and hope for the best;
think about where candidates are likely to be looking and use carefully
targeted campaigns that narrow down the search to suitable applicants while
also maintaining the quality. This targeted approach is key for relevance as there
are over 1,100 job sites in the UK. It’s all about striking the right balance
to get your advert seen by as many of the right candidates as possible.
Make sure your recruitment process is as straightforward
as possible for potential applicants to apply. Basic rule of thumb: the less
clicks needed to submit the application, the more likely it is they’ll apply.
Managing the medium term
- Upskilling within your current
Could some of the answers to your skills shortage situation
be closer to home than you realise? It won’t necessarily provide an instant
solution, but have you explored the possibility of upskilling and promoting
within your existing workforce for skilled roles, and then recruiting entry
You might already have a lot of the employees you
need and by rethinking how they can be deployed with some skill set
development, you might find the solution is easier than you thought.
- Retain the talent you already have
It might be time to ramp up your efforts when it
comes to retention too. You don’t want to compound the issue of skills
shortages by losing people. You might not have scope to do a massive amount
with salaries, but salary isn’t the only reason an employee chooses to stay
with an employer. Factors such as development opportunities, reward and
recognition, approaches to wellbeing, line manager relationships, flexible
working opportunities and effective two-way communication are hugely
Taking the long-term perspective
- Skills-based succession planning
When it comes to succession planning, don’t simply think
in terms of roles and replacements; think in terms of your company’s longer-term
goals and the skills that will be needed to deliver them. Match current employees
to those skills then use that information as the basis of your plan; by
understanding the gaps, you can identify where training, development and
recruitment efforts should be focused.
Rather than having a succession approach that relies
on finding the skills you need through external recruitment, a more robust
approach could involve developing your
own talent on a longer term basis to create a talent pool that
you can tap into for future roles. That might include apprentices, or graduate
opportunities maybe where you offer placements during their time at university,
with the goal of them then working with you once they finish their degree.
Despite the current challenges we’re helping
employers recruit successfully thanks to highly effective targeted job
advertising and recruitment marketing and
articulation of their employer
brand – 95.6% of the vacancies we advertise
for UK employers lead to a hire. If you’d like to know more about how our
recruitment advertising and marketing expertise can help your company, please get in contact
with one of the team.