‘Skills gaps and growing vacancies mean employers need to broaden their appeal’

Construction Teams looking at papers on a table


Strong demand for labour and employer problems with filling vacancies means they need to think about attracting a broader range of employees, such as women who have taken career breaks, according to the latest Labour Market Outlook from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development and The Adecco Group.

The level of demand is leading to pressure for wage growth and means employers need to think more creatively about how they attract employees.

The quarterly survey of more than 1,000 employers shows almost two-thirds (61%) of employers said that at least some of their vacancies are proving hard to fill. By comparison, just over half (56%) of employers reported that they were currently having difficulty filling vacancies in their organisation during the same period in 2017. In response, more than a quarter (28%) said that they are raising wages to tackle their recruitment difficulties.

Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market analyst for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, says: “Employer optimism about job prospects remains extremely positive which suggests we should be cautious about putting too pessimistic an interpretation on the weak provisional GDP figures released last month. However, employers looking to expand their workforces are likely to face growing headwinds as organisations find it more difficult to source the people and skills they need. This may explain why wage pressures are starting to increase following a prolonged period of relatively subdued pay growth. It could well be that employers are using higher starting salaries to attract the talent they need.

“Employers need to think more creatively about their workforce planning and talent pipelines to ensure that they can continue to access and develop key skills. There needs to be a mix of attracting new and diverse talent as well as upskilling existing staff. In particular, organisations must put much more effort into attracting and retaining older workers, women returning to work after having children and other disadvantaged groups in the labour market, as well as investing in training and developing their existing workers.”

Alex Fleming, Country Head of UK and Ireland and President of Staffing and Solutions, The Adecco Group UK and Ireland, added: “It is positive to see signs of wage growth after a prolonged period of stagnation, however it is vital that employers leverage the full breadth of their employment package in the search for new talent. In our constantly evolving labour market where competition for talent is increasingly fierce, many employees are now looking for much more than just a strong wage packet. Employers have more than one weapon in their arsenal; elements such as flexible working, modern workspaces, collaborative office spaces and inspiring management are all attractive to different segments of the labour market. It is time for employers to recognise talent as individuals and tailor employment packages accordingly to avoid missing out on key skills which will drive innovation and success.”

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