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Now Hiring! What the current job boom means for employers

It’d be an understatement to say the world has faced some drastic changes in the past 18 months, and the job market was not exempt. While 2020 was undoubtedly a difficult time for jobseekers, the recent news that UK job vacancies have reached a 20-year record high will be a huge relief to them.. 

For employers, however, this has mostly resulted in a wave of unfulfilled roles within an increasingly candidate-led market. 

At AAI we’ve been working closely with cross-sector businesses and jobseekers, and wanted to share our take on this current boom and what employers can do to cut through the noise to reach, and engage, the best talent.  

Increase in open vacancies and skills shortages 

While the number of employees on payrolls is showing steady monthly increases, empty jobs and a perceived lack of skills is a major concern for employers looking to attract top candidates. 

One of the major issues that has appeared as a result of this job boom is acute skills shortages, with 45% of employers struggling to find staff with the appropriate skills. Along with this, in 2020, 87% of those surveyed in a Glassdoor study claimed their company either experienced skills gaps in 2020 or expect it will in the coming years. 

The sector facing the biggest struggle is hospitality, with the Office for National Statistics reporting that nearly a third of businesses are struggling to fill their vacancies. Along with this, the water, health and manufacturing industries are said to be among those that have been hit the hardest. As ever, companies are competing to attract top tech talent, with the boom in remote work meaning that an Engineer in John o’ Groats can comfortably demand a London salary. 

Our advice for employers? Really think about how you present your job requirements. What’s essential, what’s desirable, what could people be trained up on? How much does it really matter where someone studied or what physical location they do their best work? Totaljobs has seen a 40% increase in searches for roles that offer remote options, which it considers a “sharp rise” as remote work made up around 15 percent of its listings since the start of 2019.

Shift to a candidate-led market

Businesses are also struggling to find employees that intend to stay within their companies in the long term. With an abundance of open vacancies, employees are more prone to flitting between jobs in search of a more appropriate role or a more satisfactory salary. 

Younger jobseekers (millennials and Gen Z) are increasingly particular to other aspects of their potential employment, such as the company’s flexible working policies, tailored perk packages, social values and wider employer branding. 25% of jobseekers would actually turn a job offer down if the option for remote working wasn’t provided. 

(In reference to social values, The Cone Communications Millennial Employee Study found that 83% of those surveyed would be more loyal to a company that tackles social and environmental issues, with 64% being less likely to take a job if the company lacks strong corporate social responsibility policies)

It’s clear the expectations jobseekers have for their potential employers are shifting drastically, looking for clearer communication of career progression and more flexible working conditions.

A shift in job-seeking habits?

Another constantly changing area of the job market is the ‘how and where’ people access the recruitment process, with social media becoming many jobseekers core focus point. Over two-thirds of 18-34 year olds found their last job through social media, with 79% of jobseekers having used social media in their job search in the last year.

Facebook and LinkedIn are reported to be the most common places for a jobseeker’s search. In reference to the former, 81% of job seekers want more job opportunities listed on Facebook. With 28m Members in the UK and 20m Open Jobs at any one time and 50 jobs applied for every second, the chances are LinkedIn will play a huge part in your next talent hunt.

Our advice? Cast a wide net. Consider that your next hire might not just be on the leading jobs boards or your personal LinkedIn network. Multiple touchpoints are key to raising awareness of your open role and cutting through the noise of everyday social media.

Communication is key

In this busy market, clear and, more importantly, timely communication with prospective candidates is essential. People want to know that their application has been received, and what the likely next steps are in the recruitment process. 

Remember, this is likely to be the real first impression your new staff member has of you as an employer and vice versa. Failure to manage this communication process can lead to candidates losing interest in the role and reflecting poorly on your organisation as a whole. A recent US study found that applicants would discourage friends from applying with a company if they felt they had been mistreated during the hiring process. 

Don’t delay in following up with people once your job role closes and make time to properly stand-down people who you are not taking forward to interview. This doesn’t have to be detailed feedback.  It’s not only common courtesy but ensures a good word from the candidate about your company. 

How we can support

At AAI, we’ve been monitoring changes in the job market since the pandemic hit, working closely with employers cross-sector and getting invaluable first-hand feedback from jobseekers. 

Reaching great talent has never been so vital and so time-consuming. To complement our established promotional tactics and inclusive job advert design, we have recently invested in more strategic, targeted methods of candidate engagement, tapping into talent pools across the country and gaining real-time insight into job roles as well as salary and work pattern expectations. 

If your company wants to stay ahead of the curve, understand the nuances of this candidate-led market, and reach the best possible talent for your roles, talk to our team today.

Find out why 1100+ businesses, cross-sector, grow their teams with AAI.

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