The combined impact of the pandemic and Brexit has placed unprecedented pressure on the UK workforce, with a record one million vacancies as firms compete for top talent. Across every sector, businesses are scrambling to find, hire and retain employees. Several industries are affected more adversely, notably transport and manufacturing, who are facing significant labour supply shortages. Brexit’s effects are beginning to bite with the latest ONS figures suggesting that a million people have left the UK.

Resolutions could take a long time, and efficient, personalised recruitment strategies are vital as we enter the seasonal period and move forward into 2022.

Collaboration with industry players is key in determining how we help our customers at Access Recruitment tap into new candidate pools and win at retention with innovative solutions. To this end, we recently hosted a lively panel discussion with several leading industry experts who shared their views and insights on how we go about combatting the candidate crisis.

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Resilient and agile solutions. Unprecedented challenges require extraordinary solutions, and the candidate crisis is no different. Gary Callow, Director of Meridian Business Support, cited the challenges of eligible workers leaving the UK, alongside the upturn and growth of many industries, resulting in not having candidates to fill many open vacancies. As a solution, he stressed it is paramount to engage candidates by moving quickly to outperform the rest of the market. Gary talked about educating clients and holding “data-led, grown up conversations about the incremental market pay increases.”

Implementing strategic data-driven strategies. Companies are clamouring for top talent, and competition is tight. James Skellington, Head of Strategic New Business at Force24, shared the importance of keeping up with the changing times with engaging job adverts and by utilising a data-driven candidate communications strategy. “Technology enables the delivery of personalised experiences with considerations of your candidates’ lifestyles: When do they check job vacancies on their device, and where are they browsing on your site? By accessing this information, you will have a much higher propensity of engagement with your job applications.”

Re-surfacing from survival mode. As businesses recover from a turbulent period, the greatest asset will be strategic and agile decision strategies powered by innovative technology solutions. The supply and demand relationship in the labour market has drastically shifted as we evolve from an employer market to a candidate-driven one.

Dave Pye, Director of Jump Advisory, suggested that now is the time for people to act as “recruitment and retention consultants”. Employers need to treat their staff well in order to prevent them being poached. Meanwhile, Pete Taylor, Managing Director, Encore Personnel, urged not to overpromise to clients. “These unprecedented labour supply issues have no immediate fix,” he warned.

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