Employers are dealing with a recruiting dilemma this spring

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According to the Q2 2022 ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS), the hiring boom that followed the easing of the COVID restrictions shows no signs of abating this spring, contributing to heightened company worry about sourcing talent.

Employers in every industry and location in the UK aim to increase their staff headcount this quarter, after seeing good ‘outlooks’ for the previous three quarters. Despite this, the recent hiring boom in London is expected to ease off, with a reduction in hiring by 11%

According to research data, a balance of +31% of UK firms aim to increase their personnel – this is down by 2% from Q1, but up 30% year on year. Services, IT and telecoms, banking, and hospitality are driving demand. The aggressive expansion ambitions come in the face of rising energy prices, high wage growth, and growing concerns about continued skills shortages.

The study is based on responses from 2,049 UK firms and asks whether they plan to hire more workers, keep existing headcount, or cut the size of their staff in the coming quarter (April to June 2022). It is the most extensive and forward-looking employment survey of its type, and both the Bank of England and the UK Government view it as an important economic indicator.

Employers in the East of the UK are the most hopeful, with a positive ‘outlook’ of +35%. Employers in London expect a drop in ‘outlook’ from +42% to +31%, putting the capital in pace with the rest of the UK, which might be attributed to a shift in labour requirements in hospitality and the increase of hybrid working.

“These near-record hiring forecasts suggest a flattening of the curve, which represents where the market is right now,” says Chris Gray, UK director at ManpowerGroup. It may be perceived as an opportunity or a threat depending on which side of the fence you are on. It remains a candidate-led market, but if you’re wanting to fill openings, it’s a great challenge to locate the appropriate personnel.”

Gray highlights what we are witnessing in the face of a persistent talent scarcity that shows no indications of abating: “Employers are stepping up their investment in workforce initiatives with a focus on how they discover, train, upskill, and retain personnel now and in the future.” This is good news in the long run since the UK will require the development of a competent workforce with the kinds of talents that will keep the UK economy vibrant in the future.”

Employers are thinking outside the box when it comes to hiring. The number of permanent positions continues to climb, as does the number of entirely remote employment promoted in historically office-based businesses such as call centres. According to research statistics, 14% of companies anticipate their staff to be remote all of the time, allowing access to a larger talent pool throughout the UK. This will bring some comfort to businesses, especially now that Proof of Right to Work checks will be entirely digitised, making it simpler to obtain personnel.

According to ONS data, the number of economically inactive people has increased by almost 400,000 since the pandemic began, accounting for 21.3% of the labour force. This has been driven by people who have retired early, are chronically ill, or are studying. “One way firms may relieve the hiring burden is to look at that economically inactive population, such as people aged 50+ who have taken early retirement,” Gray says. Taking use of this market of experienced workers, although with some possible training, upskilling, and flexible working arrangements, may be the cure for firms’ hiring woes.”

As companies seek to fill positions, the strain on the current labour grows. “While companies are working hard to fill vacancies, they must also remain committed to those they already have in place,” Gray says. Employees will almost likely feel additional pressure to deliver if the correct amount of individuals are not present across the firm. To avoid a rise in resignations, this issue needs to be addressed straight on,” Gray adds.

See how HealthBoxHR can help your business manage the recruitment process with our Recruitment Management Tool – say goodbye to spreadsheets, paper copies and applications and say hello to HealthBoxHR!

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