Businesses across Dorset, Hampshire and Oxford have revealed that their biggest recruitment challenge for 2020 is the shortage of suitable candidates. The survey by Bond Williams Professional Recruitment is in its second year and asks local employers to detail their three main recruitment challenges for the year ahead.
Over a quarter of respondents (26% – down from 29%) stated that there are a limited number of suitable candidates available for their roles, with lack of specialist skills or relevant experience being the main issue. Personality and culture fit were also given as reasons.
The recruitment process was revealed as the second biggest challenge (16%), up from third place last year. The majority of businesses maintained that the ‘time to hire’ and attracting the right talent in the first place will continue to be the most difficult part of recruiting. A further 5% of employers said that a high volume and constant need for staff makes recruitment difficult.
Being able to offer an attractive candidate package moved from second to third place for 2020, with 10% of companies revealing it is becoming harder to compete with higher paying employers or put an overall benefits and flexible working package together that will appeal to prospective employees.
For the first time, creating a diverse workforce was stated as one of the three biggest recruitment challenges for 6% of respondents, with the STEM sector in particular detailing the difficulty in attracting women into roles. Also new for 2020 is dealing with recruitment agencies (6%), suggesting that there is work to be done to improve service levels and client-agency relationships. In addition, the costs associated with recruitment, although not specifically related to agencies, is a challenge for 5% of businesses.
In other responses, 5% of companies feel they need to improve their employer brand in 2020 and that market or business uncertainty makes resource planning problematic. Uncategorised responses (other – 7%) included changes to IR35 regulations, apprentice training and dealing with mental health in the workplace.
Claire Bond, Director at Bond Williams, provided this specialist commentary on the findings:
“It is no surprise to us that the candidate shortage remains the biggest challenge for businesses as it’s still very much a candidate-driven market. This is also putting pressure on employers to develop more attractive salary and benefit packages, as well as make improvements to how their company is perceived as a place to work.
“Again, employers need to consider building a pipeline of prospective candidates, cast their net wider in terms of location and advertising platforms and also make a concerted effort to improve the experience for the existing employees who are the best advocates for their business. In turn, this will help them attract the right talent, which businesses told us was one of the biggest challenges with the recruitment process.
“Of course, the recruitment process can be time-consuming, especially when done solely in-house, which is why it can be more cost-effective to use the services of a recruitment agency. However, feedback we get from many candidates is that when clients take too long to respond or make a decision during the recruitment process, they lose interest and faith in that business, so employers must be prepared to move fast once the decision has been made to hire.
“It is disappointing to see that some employers find it difficult to work with agencies. At Bond Williams, our core objective is to take as much information as we need from the employer to be able to handle the whole candidate search, shortlisting and interview management process from there, minimising the need for additional input and questions and ensuring we find the most suitable candidates.
“It’s great to see that diversity is now being taken seriously, although we agree that it’s not always easy to achieve in the workplace. That’s why many of our free HR events and advice articles in our quarterly HR Insights magazine provide advice and guidance from specialists on how to create a diverse and inclusive workforce.”