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UK Businesses Need to Act to ‘Ensure Market Competitiveness’ Amidst Talent Shortage, Finds XpertHR

UK organisations are struggling to find the skills their business needs, with poor quality applicants (78 per cent) and skills shortages (77 per cent) named as the biggest hiring issues; human resource consulting firm XpertHR found in its latest recruitment survey.

While a talent shortage remains a significant problem for a number of industries, 44 per cent of UK organisations also cited having difficulty matching competitorsā€™ packages (pay and benefits), meaning they could be losing the top candidates to other organisations. Meanwhile, 26 per cent of organisations stated they had difficulty retaining new hires.

Although the UK unemployment rate currently sits at 4.2 per cent, employers are still struggling to source talent because candidates lack the necessary skills and experience, putting their business resiliency at risk.

Of the skills HR and recruitment professionals are looking for, specialist skills (either required in their organisation or specific to individual roles) were the most-cited skill that organisations, regardless of sector, were struggling to recruit for (88 per cent). Alongside this, soft skills like leadership (37 per cent) and management skills (33 per cent) were also proving difficult to source.

In an attempt to address skills shortages, 43 per cent have offered enhanced training programmes to upskill both new and existing colleagues. However, 58 per cent reported that their organisation is offering more appealing pay and benefits to candidates, and 52 per cent are providing enhanced pay to retain current employees.

‘Having the right people with the right skills in the right roles’

As HR and recruitment professionals in the UK begin preparing for their busiest recruitment period in Q1 2024, XpertHR suggests that they need to ensure they are reaching skilled candidates and providing a competitive pay and benefits package that can be a strong incentive for candidates and current employees alike – especially amidst the current talent shortage.

It recommends that organisations take a data-driven approach to remain competitive. Bar Huberman, content manager, HR strategy and practice at XpertHR, commented: “Despite challenging economic conditions, many businesses have been able to survive, and even thrive, in recent years.

“However, this business resilience is down to having the right people with the right skills in the right roles. As business leaders, HR and talent acquisition teams prepare for the new year and the recruitment flurry it brings, now is the time to reassess reward packages and leverage benchmarking technology to ensure market competitiveness through packages that attract top talent and promote employee satisfaction.

“Additionally, facilitating internal mobility can address some skills shortages, while providing meaningful training and development can also be an enticing way to engage and retain a current employee.”

Pay grading and benchmarking solutions could enable organisations to design and optimise a pay structure that not only meets its business objectives but aligns with employee and candidate expectations, as well as the wider market.

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