The challenge of attracting and retaining talent

Skills quantity and quality shortageAttracting (and retaining) the best talent to your organisation is a challenge - I hear this all the time in conversations with clients and prospects. I also experience it with my own business.

There are many theories as to why attracting new talent has become more of a challenge in recent years.

Quantity of placements available

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation commented recently that the number of permanent placements advertised recently has been the lowest since the financial crisis in 2008. In their most recent report, they note the following:

  • Solid drop in permanent staff appointments, temp billings rise only slightly
  • Vacancy growth eases to 93-month low
  • Pay continues to rise as candidate availability falls again

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Politically of course, there has been a great deal of uncertainty around Brexit and with an election just around the corner, it would appear that peoples’ behaviours have changed. People like to make decisions based on solid foundations and certainty. With so much uncertainty around, it’s not surprising that employees are staying put - meaning less placements becoming available as well as less talent (and less variety of talent) available for recruiters to choose from. 

Over the past 12 months, more and more business owners and recruiters have been commenting that when they do have vacancies to fill, the quantity and quality of candidates available to choose from has diminished.

Since the UK currently has a very high employment rate, I would argue that there is a labour and a skills shortage where vacancies do become available. When speaking to clients, more than half of them mention the lack of availability of candidates - this is backed up through research. Some of this is due to the drift of workers back to mainland Europe, driven largely by the Brexit sentiment.

Quality of candidates available

Increasingly, businesses are having to adapt at a much faster pace through technology and market conditions – bringing the skills shortage sharply into focus.

Instead of recruiting new people, large numbers of forward-thinking companies are looking to either upskill or retrain their staff, often as part of a strategy of people development and core values. The training required to increase productivity is often a mix of technical and soft skills. Some businesses often question the value of professional development, but often the investment in an existing employee compares favourably to taking on a new recruit. Not only are there upfront recruitment costs, the return on investment is unlikely to be instantaneous and can carry greater risk.

As you would expect from a learning provider, the team here at Crisp have the opportunity to develop their skills. In recent months, members of the Crisp team have pursued tactical development (digital marketing, Microsoft Excel) as well as strategy/behavioural based learning (ILM accredited Leadership and Management programmes). Offering professional development opportunities to the team has paid dividends, providing clear benefits not only for the individual, but for the organisation as well - increased engagement and higher levels of motivation on top of bringing new skills and behavioural training into the workplace.

In summary whilst there will be always a need to recruit new people, bearing the current recruitment challenges in mind, the option to upskill existing team members is an excellent alternative.

If you would like to have a conversation about how we can help you develop your people, so that leaving your organisation is not on their agenda, please contact one of our team on 01392 409 198.

Shaun Durham, Managing Director of Crisp Professional Development

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