Talent Shortage in the UK – How to solve it

The UK job market has drastically changed in the past few years and employers are facing a talent shortage as a result. But how can your business overcome this, and start hiring top talent?

Finding the right candidates for the right roles is a huge challenge right now. In fact, 45% of employers say they can’t find workers with the skills they need.

This ultimately impacts the quality of hires eventually made, which can have devastating effects on your business’ performance. But what exactly do we mean by a talent shortage?

Contents  hide 

What is a talent shortage?

Why is there a shortage of talent?

Why hiring top talent is important

How to overcome your talent shortage

Get better value for money

Increase advertising exposure

Optimise the visibility of jobs within each channel

Optimise performance and conversion of views into applications

Improve efficiency and minimise the loss of applicants through drop off

What’s next?

What is a talent shortage?

A talent shortage refers to a lack of suitable people available for a job vacancy. When employers or whole sectors have issues finding quality applicants for roles, this suggests that there is a talent shortage.

a door with the words we are hiring on it

This doesn’t just relate to candidates having the right qualifications for the roles. It can also include finding candidates that meet the criteria on skills, education, geographic location, and so on.

Why is there a shortage of talent?

There are now record levels of job advertising, yet candidate availability is the lowest it’s been since 1997 (KMPG). Interestingly, there has been a shift from struggling to fill niche roles, to issues with mainstream recruitment in sectors like retail, hospitality, and care – although the impact can be seen across all sectors.

Reasons for this vary from more people retiring, to a lack of European workers due to Brexit. Fewer people are also actively looking for new jobs, possibly due to the global pandemic creating concerns over job security.

This lack of active candidates means that the marketplace is now largely candidate-driven, and employers need to go the extra mile to appeal to talent. Marketing your business to attract the right type of candidates, engaging with them adequately, and outdoing your competition is now essential.

Why hiring top talent is important

It goes without saying that you want to hire the best people for your business, as not doing so can greatly impact your overall performance.

gif of a woman stretching her arms out with the words you're hired

An underperforming employee can create financial strain, particularly if you’re a small to medium-size business. And when this underperformer eventually leaves, souring and hiring a replacement has its own cost.

Other company-wide impacts include other employees needing to pick up the slack of a poor hire, meaning other work gets delayed, and the business is affected.

How to overcome your talent shortage

You can’t change the situation, but you can start recruiting smarter and winning an unfair share of applicants. By making a few changes throughout your recruitment process, you can convince talent to hit the apply button and retain them up until hired.

Get better value for money

Going directly to job boards to advertise your roles can become expensive. Instead, spending the same amount with an aggregator, media brokerage, or using a job multi-poster helps you get better value for money, and appear on 5 times more advertising channels for the same cost.

Increasing your recruiting budget at this stage is actually a very effective tactic for attracting more talented candidates. This may sound counterproductive, but if you’re competing with other businesses that are increasing their budget, your exposure naturally goes down.

When your advertising budget doesn’t match or exceed your competition’s, you’re more likely to end up with lower quality, desperate candidates who are trawling the job boards for a new role. This often means you end up using agencies to recruit instead, costing more in the long run.

It’s also important to accurately track your KPIs around job advertising. Which channels are you getting better value from? Can you place ads with better job boards to increase your reach and scale? These are all questions that will help you use your budget smartly, and beat competitors for top talent.

Increase advertising exposure

Closely linked to getting better value for money, increasing your advertising exposure means getting your roles on more channels that are highly relevant to where the candidates you want are going.

This naturally increases the probability of people finding your job, including top talent online.

Optimise the visibility of jobs within each channel

Each job board has its own algorithm for what ends up on page one of the results for a search. Research has shown that 75% of internet users never scroll past the first page of results, so appearing on this page is essential for click-throughs onto your job.

statistic that 75% of internet users don't scroll past the first page of results

All channels work slightly differently, and understanding these nuances and tailoring your ads for different channels ensures you win an unfair share of great candidates. It also means you’re able to get more applications for less money.

Optimise performance and conversion of views into applications

A mistake many recruiters make is writing job advert copy as though applying is a logical and rational decision for the candidate. However, in today’s job market candidates are likely to already have a job and are passively searching online with little commitment to moving roles.

To appeal to these candidates, they need to be engaged on an emotional level, with the right language, tone, and structure. It’s more about selling the opportunity in a way that sounds better than your competitors and their current role.

Improve efficiency and minimise the loss of applicants through drop off

With today’s candidates being so selective, if your recruitment process isn’t efficient, you increase the risk of drop-offs and falling behind your competitors.

For example, if a candidate applies to a role and a hiring manager contacts them a week later, they’re unlikely to be as interested. This is because once their CV is on the system, numerous recruiters are able to get in contact with other opportunities.

Using automation tools is a great way to improve your efficiencies. In the above example, using automated communication tools at vital points in the process is invaluable; this could include sending an email or text message thanking them for their application, sending screening requests, and insightful resources about what it’s like to work with you to keep them engaged and excited about the role.

Other ways to improve your efficiency are during the initial application process. When candidates hit the apply button and are redirected to a careers page where they are forced to begin the application process again, this creates a significant drop-off. You want to avoid this, so keeping your initial application phase on the same platform is essential.

The most effective recruitment tech providers now include CV parsing and AI ranking software for this phase too. This automatically scans CVs you receive and ranks them for relevance to the role advertised. This greatly speeds up the recruitment process, and fast tracks you to the best candidates.

What’s next?

Improving a small percentage in each of these areas is a great step towards having more quality candidates to choose from, and overcoming your talent shortage.

This article just scratches the surface on each point, so if you’d like to know more about how recruitment technology can help you overcome your candidate shortage, get in touch with us today.

The occy platform is built to overcome this challenge, with over 10 years of experience testing and optimising job adverts and performance using the latest recruitment tech.

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