Todays figures from the Office for National Statistics are out and it’s no surprise to see employment falling again this time to 1.44m giving us a 4.3% unemployment rate in the UK.
Our experience at LiCa is that a lot of businesses want to hire now, however the right staff being available is the problem we see more and more. The balance has very much shifted to a candidate driven market.
How can you gain an advantage over your competitors in such a market? The following is our advice:
- Be prepared to sell your opportunity to a candidate, common wisdom says interviewing works the other way round, and it still does. However taking the time to discuss out the many advantages of your business and why they may apply to a candidate will leave them with a positive impression after interview and a good WIIFM (what’s in it for me).
- Consider the other factors, such as your businesses stability / length of time you’ve been in business, the training you provide, the promotions you’ve signed off, and other factors many high growth companies in the early stages may not be able to point to.
- Salaries are going to have to go up, whether you lead the line on this, or follow later. If you can afford it, offer a stronger number. My prediction is salaries are going to get more and more competitive between businesses in niche areas to begin with, before an overall uplift across the board. Short of a major tank in the market we'll all be offering more money to our candidates soon.
- Consider the pension you can contribute, especially if you’re an SME this is probably the easiest area to make an uplift on with tax savings to boot. Many employed people are about to be locked into pension contributions with employers not going above their state minimums. Imagine saying “Work here and we’ll triple your pension”… you’d have to be a hard nosed negotiator not to raise an eyebrow, one to bring up with the finance manager naturally, but a way to gain the edge on the competition all the same.
Finally, be prepared for this “problem” (it’s not a problem people having jobs really) to continue. As we’re all noticing the sky hasn’t fallen with Brexit, the pound is still cheap as chips for the exporters and a lot of the oil and gas projects that got held back when oil was under $50 a barrel… well at time of writing it’s edging $70 a barrel so there’s several market drivers here at work.
The bad news for growing companies struggling for staff… there is growth yet to come in this market. I personally make a point of contacting around 20 people a week I’m not immediately trading with to chat about their businesses and catch up. A lot of hiring is being held off even with the above data.
About the author
Matthew Rollinson is owner of LiCa Scientific, a recruitment agency for scientific staff. Working with clients from small businesses, through to some of the world’s most recognisable brands. He works in South Manchester, staffing roles from bench to boardroom.