Recruitment strategies have been changed by the pandemic forcing business to adapt fast. New ways of working have started to become normal, as remote staff has gone completely mainstream. But, perhaps the key issue that has spurred on the change has simply been because many industries have faced staff shortages prompting companies to rethink their recruitment process.

While businesses accept that something different needs to happen, it is no surprise that recruitment strategies must continue to adapt. In this article, we take a look at how staff shortages have forced businesses to change their approach to recruitment. And, we ask whether such changes are having a positive impact on employees? 

staff shortages

Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

Applicants Now Call the Shots

It could be argued that staff shortages have functioned to create something of an employee’s market. With more roles to fill than talented people applying, applicants are able to demand more from their prospective employers – not just in terms of wages but also in the package of benefits on offer.

However, a phenomenon known as the ‘Great Resignation’ is also said to be occurring. Where employees are choosing to leave their job or switching to another. A recent survey suggested that around 41% of employees were thinking of quitting or changing their procession in 2021. 

With so many members of staff set to leave their job if a better opportunity comes along – perhaps it is no surprise that companies have felt the need to alter their approach. 

Workers Choose Companies With Shared Values

It is also interesting to note that the pandemic actually coincides with something of a changing dynamic created by a new generation of workers. Generation Z – the generation after Millennials, born around the late 1990s – are said to have taken more interest in finding employees that think the same way they do. 

A study into Generation Z’s attitude towards work discovered that around two-thirds of the working population thought it was important to work for an employer who shares their values. This is something that employers clearly need to prove to prospective employees – this could be through corporate social responsibility or commitment to taking an eco-friendly approach. 

Employees Expect More Vital Training 

Employees are now able to expect more from employers. Businesses owners are having to understand that they may need to actually train up the staff that they want due to shortages in needed areas. 

For example, it is well-known that many businesses have struggled to recruit drivers of heavy goods vehicles (HGV) simply because of the rise in demand for those qualified to do it. It is worth recognising that expert training for HGV drivers can be expensive, and take a significant amount of time

Some companies have started offering training as a part of the employment offer. This means that instead of having to pay for courses themselves, drivers can be trained on the yet. This is quite a divergence in terms of standard practice from just a couple of years ago, when incoming drivers were expected to have qualifications and experience. 

Staff Enticed by Bigger and Better Benefits

With staff shortages in many sectors, it has been seen as a necessary HR move for companies to think about ways that they can entice talent to their company. One emerging trend has been employers providing their employees with an extra level of support with important issues such as personal finance, mental health, and even physical health. 

Private Office, an asset management group specialising in pensions, describes some of the pension planning services that can now be offered to employees. These services ensure ‘you have sufficient funds for a comfortable retirement in the most tax efficient way. This also involves making your assets grow effectively and this could be by looking at where it is invested, especially if you hold older, smaller pension arrangements.’ 

Conceptually, if companies are able to provide these kinds of services to their staff in bulk, they can get discounts on those services with their providers. This means that the companies themselves don’t have to pay a huge amount for a service that employees genuinely have a need for. 

Rise in Demand for Specialist Recruiters

One way that businesses are responding to staff shortages is in finding new ways to discover the best talent. Where in the past simply advertising for a role might have yielded the kind of applications to fill the position with someone with appropriate knowledge, today companies are having to be more proactive to find the right talent.

This is where we have seen the rise of specialist recruiters who operate within industries. They have the contacts and specific industry experience to understand how to get the right people for the job, even in these difficult circumstances. 

Emphasis on Internal Hiring

It is naturally the case that if you are facing staff shortages, this will start to impact you at middle management and upper management levels. Hiring effective staff with this level of experience can become even harder than getting applicants for entry-level jobs and mid-weight employees. This is why we have seen a trend towards internal hiring

Finding the right staff within your team to promote has always been a key aspect of good HR management. But it has become especially important in an employment market with more limited opportunities to hire in from outside the business. 

Transferable Skills Still Highly Prized

There is additionally now a greater emphasis on the importance of transferable skills. If you can’t find the kind of experienced candidates who have specifically worked in the roles and within your industry, it can be necessary to think about the hiring process more creatively. 

If candidates are able to show ability in an area with relevant skills even if they are not exactly related, they could present a good option. 

Yes, we may be facing shortages of qualified staff – but that doesn’t mean that businesses can’t find solutions. Many companies have changed up the way that they recruit in response to this movement in the jobs market.