With the challenging economic backdrop and a slowing down of the job market, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’ve seen the end of the candidate-led job market that has dominated for so long. But to think that would be a mistake.
Yes, the UK is in recession, and it’s likely to remain there for the whole of 2023, but it’s important to pay attention to the particular characteristics of this one. In many sectors, such as finance and tech, there’s still high demand for labour as businesses continue to bounce back. And that’s perhaps not surprising when you consider that we’ve seen an exodus of approximately one million people from the British workforce since the start of the pandemic. Jobs need filling and it’s going to take a little while yet to plug the gap that opened during the pandemic.
Businesses shouldn’t expect people to be queuing up for jobs
In many sectors, there are still more roles than there are candidates and for that reason alone, businesses shouldn’t expect people to be queuing up for jobs. While I think there will be some levelling off as the recession really starts to bite, in 2023 candidates will continue to have the upper hand over businesses.
With this in mind, and employers under more pressure than ever to invest wisely in the best talent, here are the key areas businesses should focus on to ensure they stand out to the best people.
Hybrid working is here to stay
Firstly, don’t go backwards when it comes to office presenteeism. For a short while following the pandemic, it looked like we might have finally seen the end of an ingrained culture of office presenteeism that had plagued so many businesses, of all sizes, for so long. Fast-forward 12 months, and an increasing number of businesses are investing a lot of energy and effort in doing everything possible to get their people back to the office.
My advice is simple: don’t. Hybrid working is here to stay. The debate is over, and a balance of home and office work has won. It’s become a litmus test for candidates to measure how progressive a business is and the importance it attaches to creating the right culture for employees to operate at their best. Dare to go against this trend and prepare yourself for some gruellingly long recruitment processes in all areas of your business, that are unlikely to deliver the calibre of person you need anyway.
Invest in automation and ditch the pay gimmicks
Secondly, spend on automation. Just because your business has a Twitter account doesn’t mean it’s up to date with technology. Plenty of sizeable businesses are held together by spreadsheets, clunky systems, and workarounds. All these things cost you big in staff wages whether you care to admit it or not. Think of tech investments as hiring someone who only wants a salary for their first year. Do it now so you can reap the savings sooner.
Finally, ditch the pay gimmicks. If you’re an employer that offers flexible working, a great salary, and an employee-focused culture, you’re never going to struggle to recruit good people. After all, you’re offering the three things potential recruits care most about in 2023. Don’t be tempted to subsidise any one of these with gimmicky perks – there’s a cost-of-living crisis on and people can’t pay their gas bills with Argos discounts. Focus on paying as much as you can afford in a base salary and don’t expect that cycle to work scheme to do any heavy lifting.
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