Job vacancies booming and applicants now call the shots

by Gavin Hooker

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In their recent labour market review, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that in October there were 29.3 million employees, up 160,000 on the revised September 2021.

It is possible that those made redundant at the end of the furlough scheme will be included in the RTI data for a few further months, while they work out their notice period. However, responses to the ONS business survey suggest that the numbers made redundant were likely to be a small share of those still on furlough at the end of September 2021.

The number of job vacancies in August to October 2021 continued to rise to a new record of 1,172,000, an increase of 388,000 from the pre-coronavirus pandemic January to March 2020 level, with 15 of the 18 industry sectors showing record highs. Both single month vacancies and Adzuna's online job advert estimates reached record levels of vacancy numbers in October 2021.

There are a number of actions you can take to make your business attractive to new staff. In addition to reviewing your pay and conditions to be as competitive as possible, these include:

  • Tasking recruitment as a permanent process;
  • Regularly asking existing staff, customers and suppliers for introductions;
  • Offering incentives for referrals;
  • Make sure you are running constant online social media and local advertisements;
  • Embracing flexibility in hours and location in your business;
  • Introducing a “Golden Hello” and loyalty bonusses for length of service (typically one to three years);
  • Advertising testimonials from existing staff;
  • Using government initiatives for apprentices;
  • Make your company and the job sound as attractive as possible by outlining the position to sound prestigious and challenging. These two factors are big incentives for bright potential candidates;
  • Knowing that job satisfaction comes from feeling respected and having the opportunity to learn new things and excel in the face of obstacles when advertising the role; and
  • Convey your businesses personality so potential employees get a feel for what it would be like to work for you;

Recruiting new employees is tough just now so be different! For example, some employers are now offering “Wellbeing leave” in addition to the usual holiday package. If you want to recruit more you have to get serious about the process and be on it 24/7, 365!

Useful guidance on the procedures for recruitment can be seen in the ACAS guide “Recruiting staff” which can be seen here: Recruiting staff (acas.org.uk)

The content in this blog is correct as at 29 November 2021.

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