“Thanks for the offer – I will let you know.” – The shrinking candidate pool.

Close up of group of papermen standing in a row. Lots of copies of one paper man on black backgroundThere is a real sense of optimism in the air at the moment. Things have been looking up for almost every industry and marketplace for some time now, and the economy seems to be settling down. (At least for the moment anyway.) All this is good news obviously, a stable economic situation means more trade and on the back of that more opportunity. Apparently the majority of UK companies are looking to expand this year. It is good news.

At the risk of being a bit of a wet blanket though, it does bring with it a bit of a problem for the potential employer. Expansion and increased trade mean more jobs in the workplace, and they need to be filled. As a result, the skills gap (which was always there anyway) is widening in some sectors. Of course, this is most visible where businesses rely on highly skilled and very specialised personnel to meet the demands of its customers.

Unfortunately, there is also a reducing pool of employees at all other levels. While a struggle to find a new Financial Director or Chief Data Officer may be very visible within a business, we need also to remember that there are other positions that may also be more difficult to fill. The reason for this is that as well as the skills gap there is a reduced number of available employees overall.

Employees are the bones of a business, and we all need to get the best we can. This means it may well be time to consider your offer to prospective employees. It is vital when attracting new employees that you are up to speed with, and where possible ahead of, the general market. Some things that may be worth looking at to make sure the prospective employee is interested in your role are:

  • Salary considerations. The truth is that wages have not been keeping pace with the availability. Scarcity increases value, we all know this, so perhaps it is time to review your wages policy. Of course nobody wants to increase costs but a small salary increase can be a big incentive.
  •  Conditions and perks. Money isn’t everything and many employees consider the working environment as a prime motivation for accepting a role. Small things such as social clubs, comfortable rest areas and a nice environment can be important to a prospective employee.
  • Job satisfaction and potential development. Most employees look to improve in their workplace. There are people who are happy to remain in the same role for many years, but they are quite rare. Advancement doesn’t always mean a move to management though. Training and other opportunities for on the job development can increase job satisfaction, which is considered to be one of the main motivators for longevity of employment.
  • Company ethos and culture. Even with reduced numbers of candidates you still hope to employ ones that will share your ethos and will embrace your company culture. It is something that is easily overlooked in the recruitment process but for the prospective employee ‘buying in’ to the company culture can be the final decision maker, and for the employer it almost guarantees loyalty. There is a real benefit to having this as part of your offer. Not only will it attract the right people, it will also set your relationship on a good footing from the beginning.

We are seeing a real change in the way candidates are considering vacancies at the moment, and almost every applicant can now consider options before deciding where to work. This means that we may all need to compete a little harder to ensure we pluck the best from the pool.

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01Apr2015