HR · 24 January 2018

Employers urged to get creative as competition for candidates peaks

UK employment levels have reached a record high

With a record number of job vacancies posted in December 2017, employers have been advised to consider unique propositions to attract workers in a competitive labour market.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) put Britain’s employment rate at a record 75.3 per cent for November 2017 – leaving unemployment at a four-decade low of 4.3 per cent.

Labour market figures also showed that the number of vacancies had reached a record high for the fourth month running, demonstrating the level of competition employers are facing when recruiting.

With 810,000 vacancies post between October and December 2017, business owners have clearly indicated their intention to hire, but have struggled to access the skilled workers needed.

Commenting on the latest ONS figures, Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), said employers in every sector were “desperately searching for candidates”.

“Employers who want an edge over the competition have to design new ways to attract people, like flexible work patterns,” Green explained.

“Some may need to go to specialist recruiters to get help sourcing talent in areas where there are very few candidates.”



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Green added that REC data showed employers were increasing starting salaries in a bid to secure applicants, but pay rises for existing workers had failed to materialise. As inflation continues to outstrip pay growth, he warned, employers may also need to look at their current payroll.

“Employers need to think about salaries and benefits for all of their staff – otherwise employees could be tempted by better offers from rival companies,” he said.

CV-Library founder Lee Biggins agreed that business confidence in expanding workforces was yet to be met by candidates looking for new opportunities.

“Our Q4 job market report revealed that advertised salaries rose by 2.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter and 1 per cent year-on-year,” Biggins said.

“It’s clear that businesses across the nation are pulling out all the stops in a bid to rouse candidate appetite and stimulate growth in the economy. That said, with inflation rates remaining higher than pay growth, more needs to be done to encourage candidates to begin moving around and looking for their next career opportunity.”

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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