interviewing candidate during recruitment crisis

The skills shortage crisis is a growing problem for businesses in many industries. With the right strategy, however, business owners can successfully combat this recruitment challenge and find the talent needed for success.

Recent Xero research found that over the last year, almost 1 in 4 small businesses were unable to find enough staff at short notice and 1 in 5 even had to reduce opening hours due to employee shortages.

The skills shortage is the result of a number of factors, Brexit, COVID-19 and changes in the job market. The UK’s departure from the European Union has led to many EU citizens returning home or moving to other countries, reducing the pool of available workers in the UK. The pandemic has also caused disruptions in the job market, leading to a shortage of skilled workers in several industries.

Unfortunately for small business owners, this crisis is only made worse by your larger competitors adding wage pressures to the list so you may be struggling to retain and attract top talent.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the ways that you can address the skills shortage issue and reduce the impact it has on your bottom line. We’ll also discuss why it’s so important for businesses to invest in training their current staff members to fill gaps in needed skill sets.

What’s Causing the Talent Shortage?

The following are five of the most well-known causes:

1. Older generations retiring

An increase in the number of older employees retiring early is one of the main factors contributing to the global talent shortage. Around 1/3rd of the workforce comprises Baby Boomers, and with many employees planning to retire in the next decade and the Covid-19 pandemic prompting approximately 1.2 million into retirement, this poses a significant gap.

2. Skills gaps

The skills gap leads to fewer qualified candidates and a greater demand than supply, making it challenging for employers to fill vacancies.

Why are there so many skills gaps? A few issues have contributed to this, including more degrees earned in low-demand fields and a smaller work pool.

3. Family care needs

Increasing family care demands have caused some employees to leave their jobs, including caring for older relatives or childcare demands due to a lack of affordable or adequate childcare.

4. Increases in job hopping

A few decades ago, people generally stuck with the same job from when they were hired in their 20s or 30s to when they retired. These days, that’s no longer the case.

Millennials and Gen Zs are known as the job-hopping generations. A Gallup report showed that 21% of Millennials reported changing jobs within the past year (over three times the number of non-Millennials). Millennial job turnover costs are expensive.

There are many reasons why Millennials job-hop. Many do so because they want to find a higher-paying job. Others leave because they don’t like the company culture or want to explore a different career path. In other words, if Millennials feel they’re not getting enough out of their current job, they have few qualms about quitting and finding something different.

7 ways to combat the recruitment crisis and skills shortage

1. Invest in internal training programs to promote skill development within the organisation

By providing training opportunities within the organisation, you can ensure that your workforce is equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform jobs effectively and stay up to date with industry trends and new technologies. Such training programs not only help employees to improve their job performance and job satisfaction, but also contribute to the overall success of your company.

In addition to imparting new skills, internal training programs can also aid in the development of leadership and management skills among employees, providing them with the necessary tools to take on greater responsibilities in the future. Investing in internal training programs is a valuable long-term investment that results in a more skilled, efficient, and engaged workforce, ultimately benefiting your business in numerous ways.

In order to track this and keep employees motivated, it’s also important you incorporate an organisation chart which shows the position everyone works in the company and indicates progression. It’s likewise key you you have regular staff reviews in place. Within your staff reviews, as well as providing feedback on the employee and getting feedback from them, it’s important you use this review to set milestones to progress. This can allow you to see where you need to invest in training and development of each employee and make them feel in charge of their progression.

2. Review job roles and processes of your employees

When it comes to understanding job roles and processes, it’s important to take a deep dive into the specific tasks and responsibilities that each role entails. This can help you gain a better understanding of how the various departments within your business work together and help maximise efficiency across the board.

By familiarising yourself with what all the roles entail, you can gain a more detailed view of each role and how each role fits into the larger picture. It may be that you can delegate a good chunk of the work senior members of your team are doing to a new support member, which brings us onto our next tip…

3. Leverage the global talent pool by employing offshore

Once you have reviewed your roles and processes, you may identify that delegating admin tasks remotely to someone offshore can free up a significant amount of time for your senior team members – meaning they can focus on higher value work.

While it is hard to recruit in the UK, the talent pool in South Africa is huge! Durban Offshoring recently recruited a Finance Assistant for a client and had over 1,600 applications in just 2 days!

Offshoring is often confused with outsourcing. Outsourcing is where you contract with a third-party company (in any location) to deliver a particular service. That company will use its own staff who are not part of your team.

Offshoring on the other hand is where you hire employees overseas (usually via an offshoring agency such as Durban Offshoring) to work with your local team.

Your offshore team members become part of your team, learn about your company culture and values. They will be on first name teams with colleagues, on your internal email system and will be as fundamental to your operations as any local member of staff

South Africa is a great option for offshoring due to their lower labour costs (due to their lower cost of living), their fluency in English, and their large pool of highly skilled workers.

To book a free Offshoring Discovery Session to learn the benefits of offshoring in Durban and how the process works, head to the Durban Offshoring events page.

4. Implement flexible working hours and remote work policies to attract top talent

In today’s competitive job market, it’s more important than ever for you to be attractive to top talent and your current employees to reduce employee turnover. It may be hard to keep up with wage pressures caused by your larger competitors, but there are other benefits you can provide. A popular benefit since the pandemic is offering flexible working hours and remote working options.

These policies not only provide employees with a better work-life balance, but also give companies a competitive edge in recruiting and retaining top performers. With the availability of technology that allows for easy collaboration and communication, remote work has become increasingly popular and effective. By implementing flexible working arrangements, you can accommodate employees’ individual needs and preferences, while also increasing productivity and improving employee satisfaction.

5. Utilise AI to increase productivity of your team

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the way we live and work. With its ability to automate tasks, analyse data, and make predictions, AI can significantly increase productivity and free up some of the time of your team.

By utilising AI, you can streamline your processes, making them more efficient and effective. For instance, chatbots powered by AI can handle customer enquiries, freeing up human resources for more complex tasks. AI algorithms can also predict maintenance needs and prevent downtime in machinery, resulting in increased productivity.

Resist the urge to shun automation and artificial intelligence. Instead, strive to embrace these technologies and find ways for them to support your existing staff and help them perform their jobs better.

6. Create a referral program to leverage existing employees

A successful business depends on its employees, and leveraging your existing workforce is a smart way to recruit top talent. Creating a referral program can be a powerful tool to help you identify potential candidates and entice them to join your team. By incentivising employees to refer their friends, family members and acquaintances, you can tap into an untapped talent pool that might not have otherwise applied.

Referral programs can also reduce the cost and time associated with traditional recruiting methods, and can help foster a positive company culture where employees feel valued and invested in the success of the business

7. Increase the visibility of job opportunities by utilising industry networks, job boards, and social media

In today’s job market, finding the right opportunity can be a challenge. However, utilising industry networks, job boards, and social media can increase your chances of finding the perfect fit.

Industry networks allow you to connect with professionals in your field who may be able to provide insights on job openings or referrals. Job boards, such as Indeed or Monster, provide a vast database of job opportunities across various industries. Finally, social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook can serve as excellent resources for networking and staying up to date on industry news and trends. By utilising these tools, you can increase your visibility to potential employers and improve your chances of landing your dream job.

The key takeaway from this blog post is that you need to take proactive steps towards addressing the recruitment challenge right now posed by an ever-shrinking pool of qualified workers. By investing in employee training, offering attractive benefit packages and reviewing your roles and processes you can be proactive in combating this issue.

By doing so, you can ensure that your business not only survives but thrives in the ever-changing landscape of today’s competitive market.

Over the course of our ‘Staffing Mini Series’, we will do a deeper dive into a few of these tips to help you overcome this recruitment crisis and skills shortage.