There has never been a better time to start recruiting with a long term view to keeping hold of candidates by cherry picking the best talent, and with the best stand out skills to keep your business running efficiently during this challenging work environment.
With continuing market instability across industries in the UK, having a high-calibre workforce, who can drive you through the turbulent times will be a workforce who can keep you staying financially viable and highly responsive to changing customer demands.
As furlough comes to an end next month, and with a rising number of job seekers looking for their next career role, there is an opportunity to recruit across a vast pool of candidates whose careers have been paused by the pandemic.
As a recruiter for over 28 years now, the concern is that the jobs market may leave a widening gap of talent which isn’t filled, until firms are able to balance their financial viability with a new recruitment drive to find fresh talent for their workforce.
But the two offset each other, because your workforce contributes to the profitability and success of a company.
Whilst furlough may have been a perfect opportunity to become leaner in structure and weed out the less productive employees, it has also been the best time to reset how firms want to operate moving forward. The pandemic has transformed the way we all work, and how customers do business, with an increase in the use of e-commerce platforms which creates a new skills gap and calls for a fresh injection of talent.
It is expected that Covid-19 will have added £5.3bn to the UK’s e-commerce sector by the end of the year (chargedretail.co.uk – June 2020).
But since the pandemic began in March, the UK jobs market has changed substantially, which has had a negative downturn on recruitment and skills shortages.
There are estimates by industry experts, that the ‘low carbon workforce’ will treble by 2030 and that demand for digital skills and transferable skills such as critical thinking, interpersonal communication and leadership skills will be more important as technology advances and virtual working becomes more common.
A report from Luminate, ‘Skills shortages in the UK 2019/20’ reported that a third of vacancies (33%) in the UK were considered ‘hard to fill’ due to a lack of relevant skills, qualifications and experiences, often referred to as ‘skills shortage vacancies’.
There is a demonstrable lack of knowledge of products and services and of how an organisation works.
According to the Luminate report, the industries which are experiencing ‘hard to fill’ vacancies at professional level include:
– architectural and engineering activities
– computer programming and consultancy
– employment and HR
– financial services
– legal and accounting services
– office administrative, support and business activities
– public administration and defence
– retail trade
– social work
Digital skills will become more important in the next twelve months and people are required to up-skill to stay employable. A recent survey conducted by Computerweekly.com revealed that 16-24s and 25-34s showed the most interest in wanting to learn new skills.
This is the perfect time to grow digital skills amongst the UK’s younger generation which will drive diverse talent and skills across the UK.
By equipping people with the skills that are most in demand across all sectors, this gets people back into work but also tackles the skills gaps which are holding business back and costs the UK economy £4.4bn a year. Identifying the skills gaps can bring the economy back into an upward growth cycle.
Whilst qualifications are important, it is implementation of knowledge, willingness to learn on the job and ability to adapt to change that will help the nation survive this pandemic. These are skills learned in the real world.
The Government needs to take lessons from this pandemic and ensure that the UK has a well thought through skills strategy to ensure that the UK skills landscape is fit for purpose going forward.