Tips for Businesses Struggling with Skills Shortages
The skills shortage remains a familiar problem for UK employers, hurting both productivity and profit.
The latest data shows a lagging British economy which has not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels with reasons cited being pandemic repercussions and tighter post-Brexit immigration law.
What is clear is that businesses proactively need to remain on top of skills shortages in order to flourish. With this in mind, we share our top tips for those facing labour challenges in 2023.
Which UK Industries Are Struggling with Skills Shortages?
First, it is useful to establish which UK industries are most feeling the talent pinch. A recent study showed that some of the country’s biggest shortfalls spanned a number of different areas including transport and logistics, hospitality and manufacturing and construction.
Invest in Recruitment
With only a finite amount of top talent available to the market, time is of the essence when recruiting – so it could pay to employ a recruitment agency to facilitate this for you. As a third party operating outside of your business, these may have much wider referral networks and can pinpoint the right people with the requisite work experience. Often, recruiters will specialise in their own different industries, so it’s wise to use one which aligns with your own particular needs. Enrolling your own agency can help you find new talent fast and those with the core skills to help your company reach its goals.
Upskill Your Staff
Often the answer may not be in external recruitment but in your existing employees. Instead of searching fruitlessly for that silver bullet hire, consider your current workforce. Is there someone who can be moulded with a little training?
Upskilling may take on many different forms and can include on-site training, e-learning, workshops or self-reflection tasks. This can be a largely low-risk, inexpensive process which can really enhance your workforce.
Organisations with more resource may even pay to enrol their staff through external providers such as university or colleges. A personalised investment in your workforce can really engender loyalty and even provide a useful PR opportunity.
For a longer-term approach, one solution to skills shortages may be to use apprenticeships as one arm of your recruitment process. Apprenticeships can enable employers to reach a wider talent pool while for prospective employees they can offer a strong, high-quality alternative to the university degree. Employers can identify skills gaps then roll out training accordingly. Their inherent mix of training and paid work can be more cost-effective than typical graduate-style recruitment while offering apprentices the chance to earn while they learn.
Using a wide range of recruitment channels and building links with links with educational institutions can be a useful way of finding talent at the source.
Boost Your Marketing Presence
Enhancing your company’s marketing strategy can make you more of an attractive prospect to future employees. As well as partnering with local education institutions, look to push your company vacancies page often on social media – or even in the local press. This increased brand awareness will likely improve the number of enquiries of people hunting for jobs and plugging your skills shortages.
GDP – data tables – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)
Immigration – Winckworth Sherwood LLP (wslaw.co.uk)
UK employers struggle with worst labour shortage since 1997 | Business | The Guardian