UK businesses face an increasingly serious skills gap, so how can they stand out and recruit the best talent?

Where art thou talent?

The UK faces a skills shortage that is set to cost the economy £90bn per year. As if this wasn’t enough, Brexit and expected controls on immigration threaten to restrict the talent pool even further, meaning businesses will face ever more difficult challenges when it comes to not only hiring the best candidates, but retaining the loyalty of their existing workforce.

Expectations among the workforce are also changing in terms of what they want from a job. As an example, 81 per cent of UK workers say they would take a pay cut if it meant landing their “dream job”.

Similarly, 73 per cent say that development and personal progression are among the top things they look for in a job, even as much as a better salary.

With more competition to attract and retain the best talent, coupled with changing priorities and motivations among workers, the future of recruitment looks more challenging than ever for UK businesses.

However, there are steps businesses can take to attract the crème de la crème in a declining talent pool so, with that in mind, here are a few suggestions to help your business stand out from the crowd and become more attractive to candidates.

What light through yonder window [of opportunity] breaks?

In days gone by, an attractive salary and perhaps a company Porsche may have attracted the best talent. But today, such luxuries cannot guarantee that employees stay loyal to an organisation.

People are not solely motivated by high salaries and company perks, in fact, as we’ve already touched on, offering personal development and progression is much more enticing and appealing to candidates – especially those in the formative years of their career.

This, however, is not translating into some workplaces with a recent study finding that 40 per cent of workers aged 45 and over don’t think their employer cares about their future development in the organisation.

Forbes has also highlighted research which found that “opportunities for meaningful” work ranked as the second most important aspect of a job among older workers, clearly identifying that today’s workers are much more likely to respond to development opportunities and progression, rather than getting materialistic benefits from a job that doesn’t challenge them.

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

Younger candidates in particular are increasingly drawn to organisations that share their values over those which only offer more money. Company values are at the heart of every organisation and if used correctly, can drive a business forward.

Indeed company culture is becoming a vital aspect of recruitment with 86 per cent of people taking part in a Deloitte 2016 Global Human Capital report saying they viewed it as important or very important to business success.

By ensuring that company beliefs are clear and concise, businesses can start to attract applicants that genuinely fit into the company ethos and culture. This will ensure that employees remain devoted to the company because their values align with yours.

Friends, social media, countrymen, lend me your talent!

The top talent isn’t going to fall from the sky into your lap!

Businesses should be actively trying to find candidates on a consistent basis. This means browsing through LinkedIn pages, posting on social media and networking – get ahead and find the top talent before a competitor does.

One of the benefits of social media for businesses is that candidates will often look to follow the employers and organisations they admire or want to work for, so don’t forget to use your online following as a pre-existing talent pool.

We are in a candidate driven market right now, especially in tech, so candidates need to be shown they are wanted and, don’t forget, want to see why they should work for you and if you share the same values as them.

Shall I compare thee, to every other CV?

Put yourself in the shoes of an applicant – instead of reading hundreds of CVs, they have probably read hundreds of job applications and are most likely bored of reading the same, tiresome job descriptions over and over. Create a job description that’s informative, interesting, inclusive and transparent to catch the attention of job-seekers and draw them to your business.

Again, be clear about the culture of your company and show candidates you’re offering not just the job they want, but you’re offering the job in the kind of environment they want to work in. Giving a potential candidate a feel for what your business is about is one, fairly easy way, to get yourself noticed above the businesses going after the same talent.

Talent! Talent! My kingdom for some Talent!

Competition amongst businesses to attract the top talent, is fierce. It is vital that your business makes it difficult for candidates to say no to a job offer. This can be done during the interview process when you have a real chance to sell your business. The needs and wants of the candidate should be your main priority, so you should do what you can to find out about a candidate’s personality. Many employers use psychometric tests to try and determine personality types, values and motivators to understand whether the candidate will fit the company.

These, obviously, are just a few ways in which your business can work to stand out from the crowd when it comes to recruiting and retaining the best talent. It is up to each business to tailor their pitch, and define their culture, in the way that best suits them and in a way, that will attract the kind of talent they want.

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