The UK Labor Market Has Changed – What Recruiters Can Do

Demand from businesses for talented individuals will almost always rise. But what about supply? Over the last few years it may have felt like there was an endless well of talent to choose from, but new figures show that this well might be running a little dry.

A new report from the CIPD and the Adecco Group says applicant supply no longer matches employer demand and that across all roles – from both low-skilled and high-skilled – fewer people are applying.

But why? Some have said it’s down to UK unemployment falling to levels lower than what we’ve seen for years, meaning that workers will look further afield less frequently. With average salary growth plateauing, there is even less motivation to switch between roles.

However, others might point to another cause driving down job applications: Brexit. The number of EU workers seeking jobs in the UK has tumbled by a massive 95% between 2017 and 2018 due to uncertainty over everything from freedom of movement to the local economy.

As a result, it’s going to be even more important for businesses to recruit talent when the UK leaves the EU, and for many years to come. So, what’s the answer? Some say better pay and more benefits, despite many businesses finding this unpalatable. But the truth is, the most valuable recruiters will bring their own solutions to the table to secure the best talent for their clients.

Here’s what recruiters can do.

Redeploy, and redeploy again. According to our own research, fewer than 25% of recruiters redeploy their candidates for temporary and contract roles despite this method being a valuable way to utilize a database.

Of course, it isn’t as simple as that – you need to make sure you:

  • Use your data – Make sure it’s up to date so you can quickly and immediately identify candidates for quick redeployment.
  • Maintain good relationships – Of course, these individuals will need to enjoy working with you if they will continue to do so, so prioritize providing an excellent candidate experience.

Redeployment is in everyone’s interest, so make sure you’re prepared for when an assignment ends so your candidate can move seamlessly to a new contract and your client doesn’t have to spend time and money sourcing a new employee.

Recruitment CRMs can help you take control of the process. Develop your strategy by using the best tools to streamline the experience and keep on top of opportunities as they present themselves.

PREMIUM CONTENT: UK Professional Recruitment Trends

Develop and implement a marketing strategy. Especially for recruiters. Did you know that 87% of recruitment companies don’t have a chief marketing officer? Our research also shows 74% don’t have a vice president of marketing either, while almost half don’t have a specific budget or a marketing strategy built for the year ahead.

When we operate in a job market that is suffering a skills shortage, mono-channel marketing simply won’t do. The onus is now far more on the recruiter to sell a job opportunity and multi-channel digital marketing is a major strategic consideration when it comes to finding the right person.

Which channels will be most important? Bullhorn research has also shown that 60% of recruiters plan to put more money into social media, while half also plan to spend more budget on both email marketing and job boards – so it’s important not to get left behind.

Here’s what you should remember when planning a marketing strategy:

  • Personalize – with more recruiters exploring multi-channel marketing, the noise is reaching a din. But if you truly personalize your message, you’ll have a better chance of reaching the people you need.
  • Employ new tech – marketing automation software is vital. It helps you segment and streamline, but better still, the longer you use it, the better you can harness data analytics. This will make your approach more strategic, particularly for recruitment campaigns.

Leverage underused talent (with a little help from AI). This may seem out of left field, but using AI may be an effective way to broaden your candidate pool in future. Traditionally marginalized groups such as immigrants, returning mothers, disabled, and the neurodiverse – among others – are untapped wells of talent, but these groups are occasionally (and unintentionally) discouraged from applying. AI can help foster a more inclusive approach.

For example, it’s not always obvious but it can be easy to fall into the habit of writing to gender – and gendered language in job descriptions has been shown to put off applicants and reduce diversity. Take the words ‘dominant’ and ‘challenging’: these often put off female applicants, but a sophisticated machine learning algorithm can detect and remove this restrictive language through natural language processing.

Candidates can also fall to unfair advantage or disadvantage due to race and age, as well as gender. It can be sparked by a foreign-sounding name or school attended, but algorithms can be programmed to ignore this kind of information. These algorithms can additionally help overcome the conscious and unconscious biases that adversely influence the prospects of neurodivergent candidates, whose behaviors may deviate from norms and expectations in ways that don’t necessarily affect job performance.

A pregnant woman or a returning mother may also be discriminated against by a human recruiter – it’s assumed that, with children in the picture, work is not necessarily their top priority, even if they’re effectively the ‘breadwinner’ – but AI won’t marginalize them in the same way.

Not only is machine learning well placed to match candidates to the specifics of job criteria, it also has the benefit of identifying where a candidate might be better placed as opposed to outright rejecting them. Instead, they can be referred to other roles, and that means better and more frequent placements. Use AI to leverage underused talent, and you’ll help address any labor shortages you might have.

And in an environment plagued by these shortages, all available talent must be used to its fullest potential. This approach ties into a wider trend towards re-skilling and up-skilling candidates to meet very specific role requirements.

The secret to success in the current recruitment market is simple: recruiters need to diversify their tactics and stay on top of modern technology and processes. The above highlights some simple tactics you can employ to help you get better results and provide added benefit to your clients, your candidates and, ultimately, yourself.

Peter Linas

Peter Linas
Peter Linas is international managing director at Bullhorn.

Peter Linas

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