The key to standing out in recruitment during Brexit uncertainty

Augusta Henning | |

The UK recruitment market is particularly tough right now. With continued Brexit uncertainty, many professionals are nervous about moving jobs, putting pressure on UK employers to consider new ways to attract, recruit and retain the very best workers.

What’s more, according to data from CV-Library, salaries are soaring across the UK, with average pay in 2018 jumping up by 7.6% on the previous year. It’s clear from this that companies are trying to pull out all the stops in order to secure and retain the top talent. But is this really a strategy that businesses can afford to continue with?

Alongside this, when looking at average advertised job numbers, the agriculture, legal, property and retail industries saw the biggest rise in job numbers in 2018, an increase by 38.8%, 26.6%, 23.3% and 22.5% respectively.

DISCLAIMER: The situation with Brexit continues to be unclear – the date was recently moved again, this time to Oct. 31, 2019. We know the impact on your recruitment efforts is immeasurable, and we hope we can help you navigate the uncertainty of this period. With some adjustments in dates and schedules, you’ll still find a solid ally in our Brexit content.

At a first glance, this might suggest that employers in these industries are feeling confident about their hiring efforts and growing their teams. However, we cannot ignore the fact that some of these sectors, such as agriculture, are predicted to be hard-hit by Brexit, largely because of the projected departure of EU-based talent. As such, it’s clear that companies within these industries are being impacted by ongoing skills shortages.

In light of these issues, this article will explore these trends in more detail, as well as a number of concerns that employers have around Brexit, offering practical advice on how to stand out as an employer during uncertain times.

Sourcing candidates

The second half of the double whammy facing employers already losing EU-based talent is that the current economic climate has prompted many professionals to remain in the safety of their current employer. While this is positive news for businesses in terms of retaining key employees, it does also spark real concern for the organizations that are looking to grow their teams and bring in new talent – particularly as many are already finding it difficult to access the skills they need.

In fact, according to research, 39% of hiring managers struggle to find the right skills because of Brexit, with a further 24% stating that they need confirmation and clarity on what the potentially limiting immigration rules will be around Brexit. Many organisations rely on EU talent to supply key skills, meaning a crackdown on migration will have a serious impact on these businesses, including those key industries we mentioned earlier.

So how can employers continue to source the individuals they need? Using the right tools is extremely important, whether it’s an applicant tracking system like Workable, or a job board like CV-Library. Better still, integrating the two types of platforms can ensure that you have access to both active and passive candidates, while also streamlining your entire hiring process. Alongside this, consider building out a strategy for social media recruiting or even word of mouth. Strong employer branding will also help your company be more attractive to candidates and help counteract some of the negative press toward UK organizations resulting from Brexit developments.

Attracting professionals to your roles

Are you making a job offer that candidates simply can’t say no to? In the current climate, attracting candidates beyond the usual higher salary and benefits is extremely important. After all, many companies can’t afford to keep up with the Joneses financially and instead need to look at other ways to stand out.

At the same time, while higher salaries are all good and well, all the money in the world won’t reassure a candidate who’s worried about where they’re going to be in one year’s time.

The trouble is, we are operating in a candidate-driven market. Many professionals know their worth and will use this to their advantage to find a role that ticks every single box.

In order to keep up with these demands, you need to consider what makes your business unique. Can you safely say that your workplace has a stand-out factor that makes you better than your competitors? If the answer is no, it might be time to consider investing some time in switching up your entire people processes, culture and perks.

For example, are you offering flexible working hours? Are you proactively supporting mental health in the workplace? Do you have any additional perks, such as giving staff their birthdays off? These don’t have to come at too much of a financial cost, but can do wonders for helping you stand out as an employer of choice in the current climate.

What’s more, consider some of the more unique perks that can set your business apart. Unlimited time off, duvet days, paid puppy leave, a wellness allowance and so on are quickly emerging as some of the upcoming perks in the workplace. And, outside of these admittedly quirky offerings, consider what perks can you offer a candidate that will specifically help to alleviate any concerns around Brexit.

For example, some organizations have introduced Brexit Project Managers who are on hand to help individuals sort everything they need to they can stay in the UK and particularly, with the business.

Do your research on what will be most effective and don’t just throw out a new perk for the sake of it.

If you build a strong foundation of culture and benefits for employees, your employer branding efforts and attracting qualified professionals will become easier.

Recruiting and retaining the best workers

Of course, in a candidate-short market, retaining your top employees is also extremely important, especially as the cost of recruiting someone new can be a massive cost to the business. As noted, Brexit uncertainty may have made short-term retention a bit easier, but the most qualified and best employees might still leave your organisation, especially if they’re from another country.

Retention is all about understanding what drives your employees and ensuring that you’re offering them an exciting career path that they can’t afford to leave behind. Ask yourself, how often are you sitting down with your employees and discussing their performance and goals? Are you holding regular salary reviews to reward individuals for their hard work?

Your focus should not only be on sourcing new talent, but also maximising the skills of existing employees. Investing in their development can be extremely beneficial to the organisation, helping you to remain competitive in these difficult times. For example, do you offer training programs, whether internal or external? How often are you working with your employees to discuss their progress and set new goals? Consider these factors and what you can do to enhance your employees’ careers and get the most out of their skill-sets.

Alongside this, while you don’t want to ‘scare’ your employees or make them worry about the safety of their jobs, it is important to address that the current market is a difficult one. By being honest, open, and reassuring them that you’re all in it together, you’ll stand a better chance at retaining your workforce.

Stand out as an employer during uncertain times

It’s no secret that businesses across the UK are struggling to find the talent they need right now. With ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, it’s difficult to know how the market will remain in 2019. What we do know is that organisations need to think of how they can improve their candidate attraction methods in order to fill key skills gaps within their companies.

By taking action now and focussing on standing out as an employer, whether that’s focussing on your employer brand or working with the right recruitment partners, you’ll have a better chance of attracting, recruiting and retaining the best workers in the midst of Brexit uncertainty.

Augusta Henning is PR Manager for CV-Library and Resume-Library and has been writing about career related topics for more than six years. She has a passion for communication and enjoys creating all sorts of content for her employer.

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