The War for Talent
During 2014, the UK saw increases in 41 key sectors, but as the economy recovers, a new war is waging over talent.
Job growth during 2014. Source: CV Library
Building & Construction – jobs up by 81% in 2014
Education & Training 54%
Administration & Secretarial 44%
Call Centre & Customer Service 38%
As the markets return to pre-recession levels, there is a new, very real concern apparent. With around 90% of firms looking to recruit this year, candidates can pick and choose their employers and are commanding significant pay increases.
The recession has left a black hole in terms of skilled candidates being available. Those who graduated between 2008 and 2011 struggled to secure roles within their chosen field, which led to many retraining, taking low-paid work or relocating. Candidates who would now be fully qualified engineers, surveyors, accountants, solicitors and other professionals, with around four to seven years' experience – these being the dream candidates that employers are chasing, are in short supply.
The issue for many employers is now how to deliver current workloads, a far cry from a few years ago when companies were forced to make mass redundancies. However, not being able to recruit the right people fast enough, puts significant pressure on existing teams, creating further problems. Staff begin to feel resentful, work life balance is compromised and coupled with a salary that has perhaps been frozen for a number of years, they begin to look for jobs elsewhere.
Those who have not received pay rises or bonuses for a number of years are now looking at the job market with keen interest. Pay increases are slowly returning, with Engineering having one of the highest increases in salaries: 8% in the past year. Despite the shortage of strong legal candidates, average salaries within Law have in fact reduced by 8%.
When key members of a team resign, employers naturally panic and a knee-jerk reaction for many is to make a counter-offer and make promises they are unable to keep. Human nature dictates that for many, it is far easier to stay within their comfort zone, so will stay with their employer, however, statistically most employees will resume their job search within 51 days. The impact of a short-term fix can be detrimental. Employees invariably discuss salaries amongst themselves with other team members. Now fully aware that a colleague has received a pay rise, along with promises of promotion, this leaves employees questioning where they feature in the company's plans. Employers may find themselves with a workforce demanding pay increases, which a firm can ill-afford.
By having a clear strategy to deal with resignations, these underlying issues can be prevented. Sadly, age, sex and race discrimination is still prevalent, but those firms embracing diversity, coupled with investment in training their employees and creating a positive work environment will be the ones to watch in the future.