A buoyant UK job market creates a record number of vacancies – it’s in the news everywhere! But where are all the candidates? We hear from our clients and, also companies with their own recruitment teams who normally source direct, that they are really struggling to find quality candidates. They say “We’ve posted the role on Indeed and CV Library, we use to receive 20 plus applications before, and we’ve received only 5 – what is going on? Can you help us please find some quality candidates?”
At SFR Recruitment Solutions we’re hearing this a lot and, you know what, we’re experiencing this too. Candidates seem to be hiding in the sand and, for some reason, not as many people are actively seeking new roles, and are seemingly apathetic towards job change right now. So, why are available candidates in such low supply at the moment? While the job market is overflowing with opportunity?
What is causing the hiatus in candidates’ job searches?
According to WaveTrackR, it has recorded a downward trajectory in applications in nearly every industry over the past couple of months and the average number of applications per job has been decreasing for 5 consecutive months.
WaveTrackR explains that jobs are 235% above the 2020 monthly average and leading economists have revised their forecasts now predicting that the UK economy will recover by the end of 2021 – a full year earlier than originally anticipated. The market has picked up across most industries and business confidence is soaring but candidate confidence is not.
Many are hesitant to make a change job whilst there remains uncertainty in the market. There are a lot of ‘what ifs’ still, which is discouraging passive job seekers from considering a move to a new role. This really hits the nail on the head when it comes to explaining the general lull in available candidates – people are just not looking!
Factors driving job move uncertainty right now
There’s still market uncertainty due to covid – infection rates in the UK are soaring again which is a worry for most people as life returns to normal there is an undercurrent of uncertainty. Why throw the stress and uncertainty of a new job into the mix? There’s less need to earn more money – less desire to go on holiday abroad, to buy a new car etc.
More demands on parents at home – pressures of intermittent home-schooling due to periods of isolation associated with school bubbles, parents feel that they cannot rely on school for childcare and are still juggling work and childcare.
Contentedness – the pandemic has encouraged employers to embrace homeworking; employees have proven their effectiveness at working remotely and most are happy for this to continue. Employees are enjoying a more relaxed and balanced work/home life. It’s a concern that a new job might not allow homeworking.
Loyalty – people feel more loyal towards their employers who supported them during the pandemic, allowed them to work from home and cope with the upheavals of covid life. How do they know a new employer would do the same?
Trapped by furlough – a selection of people is on furlough and are therefore unavailable.
Lack of overseas workers – 1.3 million overseas workers are estimated to have left the UK since the end of 2019
Early retirement – lots of people have chosen to take early retirement and have left the job market.
Industry side-stepping – a number of workers made redundant from industries, that were particularly hard hit by the pandemic, have found jobs in other industries leaving yawning gaps in the ones they left behind.
Retraining and upskilling – many workers who have re-assessed their lives and careers during the pandemic, have been furloughed or made redundant, or have made the decision to retrain.
How to help regain candidate confidence
Naturally, the best available candidates who are looking for a new role will be drawn towards the best companies who have great reputations, brand recognition and goodwill.
Employers should work on their own PR in order to be seen as an attractive employer, with above average salaries, that has great promotion prospects, offers stable employment and great benefits, always winning new contracts, a friendly place to work that celebrates employees’ achievements, treats people well and has positive employee reviews. Ask yourself: why should people work for your company? What are the real incentives? There are websites where employees can see employers’ reviews such as Glass Door and magazines who rank companies (top 100) based on their financials.
Candidate confidence will be restored overtime. The advice we would give is to focus on being clear in your job advertisements and people specifications. Be very precise on the role and benefits you are offering, including the flexibility you are prepared to offer and your attitude towards home working which is seen as a big perk right now. By considering homeworking employers are also able to cast their net a lot wider on a national scale capturing more talent. Use a sector-based recruitment partner to help you find passive job seekers – more about this below. At SFR we are trusted advisers that are keen to talk to industry talent about their specific career goals and aspirations, so we can carefully match them to future roles.
Why the best candidates aren’t even looking!
The best candidates are the passive job seekers, whom are not actively looking for a new role; they are waiting for the perfect opportunity, albeit unknowingly! These types work hard, earn their bonus, hit their targets, are doing really well in their role, feel respected and appreciated by their employers. It would take an exceptional opportunity to persuade them to consider a move.
Because ‘passives’ instinctively know the companies they would like to work for but aren’t actively looking – they therefore need to be headhunted. The perfect opportunity needs to be presented to them, on a silver plate with fairy lights – flaunting an attractive opportunity that they simply can’t ignore! A good recruitment partner will take a comprehensive brief from their client and will use their networking skills to uncover the best talent and find the perfect match. Reputation is also important for recruiters in order to attract the best talent the recruiter needs to be well-respected, engender supportiveness during the process and follow ethical recruitment practices.
Finding candidates right now is not impossible, it just takes a lot longer and companies need to be proactive in attracting and finding the best talent.
How to get the most out of using a recruitment partner
At SFR as well as really knowing our sector, we also work closely with our clients, listening to them and taking down a precise brief. Getting the most out of a recruitment partner is all about 3 things:
Detail – make sure your recruitment partner has all the details of the type of person you are looking to attract, don’t be vague– be the opposite – the more thorough the better! Candidates are generally put off when there is an absence of a job description, but also consider if the job specification is too complicated, full of company jargon and excessive responsibilities that can put people off. Don’t forget to mention the benefits of working for your company!
Trust your recruitment partner – allow them to do their job. By using a recruitment partner, you can reach a pool of, otherwise, inaccessible (passive) talent. A good recruitment partner will know what questions to ask you in order to find perfect candidate(s).
Period of exclusivity – it’s best to give your recruitment partner a period of time to work exclusively on finding you candidates for your role. Choose a partner who has sector experience, already has contacts and positive testimonials. Going to more than one agency at a time can demonstrate that you’re not committed to the partnership and dilutes the effort; generally lowering the overall success rate.
Here at SFR Recruitment Solutions, we’re employment specialists for the Architectural Ironmongery, Doors, Access Control and Window & Door Hardware industries. If you are struggling to find candidates right now, why not reach out to us for advice? Similarly, if you are a passive job seeker that is looking for something ‘just right’ it’s worth registering your interest with us so we can be on the lookout for you.