As demand for talent continues to grow, jobseekers with the right skill sets can be more selective than ever. So what are employers doing to attract people and what can jobseekers expect from a great employer? We sat down with Joanne Lucy, managing director of recruitment firm, Major Players, for her latest industry insights.
Joanne, how has 2022 kicked off for Major Players as a key player in the recruitment space?
We’re a quarter of the way through the year and it’s been as busy as I have ever seen it. The demand for talent continues to be paramount for businesses, with over 80% of those in the creative industries looking to hire within the next 12 months, according to research we conducted earlier this year. In the last 10 weeks alone, we’ve seen a surge in brief enquiries up by 24.7% on Q4 2021. This is typical for the first quarter in a year, but it’s an increase on top of an already incredibly demanding job market, showing that things are not in any way slowing.
So what kind of challenges are you facing?
The increase in demand for talent comes with plenty of challenges, most notably a serious candidate shortage. Early data from Major Players’ 2022 salary survey shows that 36% of respondents are looking to leave their roles within the next six months - down more than 8% on last year, which is a considerable number of candidates no longer active in the job market. This has meant, like many other businesses, we’ve had to evolve our candidate attraction strategies to continue to build diverse talent pools.
In what ways have you evolved your candidate attraction strategies to meet the challenges?
Recognising the convergence of technology, digital innovation and creative ideas, we recently announced our strategic merger with the Arrows Group, a global technology recruitment company, creating the Majar Group. This formalisation of many successful years of collaboration ensures that we can deliver greater talent, digital transformation, and growth strategies for our clients.
We have also widened our geographical reach in order to ensure we are able to support candidates wanting to make the move to Europe and vice versa. We recently opened our first European office, extending our network to Amsterdam, and we are excited to start connecting London and UK talent with some of the world’s best agencies and brands in the Dutch capital.
"As tech disruption accelerates, employers are looking for the right blend of technical skills and human strengths. Critical thinking and analysis skills, and complex problem-solving skills are key, as well as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility."
What skills are in highest demand at the moment?
The pandemic has pushed companies to prioritise their digital transformation and automation, which has led to a considerable, but not entirely predictable, shift in demand for certain skills. As tech disruption accelerates, employers are looking for the right blend of technical skills and human strengths. Critical thinking and analysis skills, and complex problem-solving skills, are key, as well as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility.
What can employers do if they’re struggling to recruit the right skills?
If businesses are unable to source exceptional talent in a scarce market, then reskilling and upskilling their current workforce is crucial. A report on the Future of Jobs published by the World Economic Forum suggests that up to 40% of workers will need reskilling to plug the skills gap by 2025.
We have already seen an appetite for people to move into hybrid roles, plugging some of those gaps. We have also seen an appetite for talent to learn new skills, with a four-fold increase in the number of individuals seeking out opportunities for learning online. It’s important that businesses have the right infrastructure in place for this to happen with appropriate funding considered; motivating employee engagement during the process; and tracking long-term success.
What role is employer branding playing in helping to attract talent?
Accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, employer branding has overnight become a key focus for many businesses. A recent LinkedIn report showed that 70% of businesses consider it to be a top priority for 2022, stating that a watertight strategy can double candidate attraction alone.
"Employer branding has overnight become a key focus for many businesses."
Having a strong employer brand is critical in both attracting and retaining talent. One of the key techniques we are seeing more of is authentically showcasing your business, its people and the culture. By offering an insider's perspective into the company, it allows prospective employees to fast-track whether they align with your organisation or not. The important thing is that your ‘insight’ needs to be truly authentic and transparent, and it should represent an accurate account of what your business is like. If it doesn’t then you will struggle to retain those new hires.
What kind of things are attracting talent?
Yesteryear, business leaders would have considered the introduction of a pinball machine or lunchtime pints as a comprehensive employee attraction and retention strategy. Recent events, however, have put immense pressure on C-suite leaders to understand the importance of their organisational purpose, company culture and values, and the employee experience. Employees are placing much more importance on work/ life balance, personal development and working for a company whose values align with their own. Candidates are increasingly selective and know that their skillset is in high demand.
Employee advocacy is also becoming increasingly important, as celebrating and amplifying people's progression and thriving workplaces is one of the strongest assets when promoting an employer brand. Genuine advocacy examples demonstrate the types of opportunities available and provide a real feel for what it’s like to work there.
Tell me about the significance of diversity and inclusion when it comes to recruitment and careers
Simply put, the absence of diversity, equity and inclusion in recruitment and hiring processes limits access to the best talent, hinders business innovation and evolution, and ultimately affects the bottom line. Businesses must ensure that their recruitment processes are robust and do not allow inherent biases to influence their hiring decisions. A clear DE&I strategy will support businesses in hiring and retaining the best talent.
Creating a truly inclusive, diverse, and collaborative work environment, ensures that we are not only attracting and engaging talent but also retaining them. Whilst nearly all businesses have a long way to go, it’s important that they place emphasis on having effective DE&I strategies, setting clear goals and ensuring they have metrics that can capture and measure progress. Ultimately, diverse workforces lead to greater diversity of thought in the workplace, create greater innovation and better business outcomes.
What kind of career opportunities can professionals look forward to this year?
We are currently in a candidate-driven market, with more jobs available than there are job seekers. According to Statista, the number of job vacancies in the UK hit a record high of 1.3 million in the three months to February 2022.
As a result, businesses are looking to keep their best talent by providing enhanced remuneration packages, in addition to fast-tracking promotions, tailored L&D and a multitude of enhanced benefits and perks. I think we can expect to see a lot of movement internally, and businesses doing their best to poach or attract exceptional talent.
What else should candidates look for in a great employer?
Candidates are increasingly looking for businesses that are far more socially conscious and care about people and the planet, as well as progressive organisations who can offer enhanced policies around maternity and paternity.
In addition, employee wellbeing has seen a giant leap in priority for candidates, with many looking for benefits that strengthen their individual and family life experiences - and baseline employee assistance programmes no longer cut it. Top employers know that by broadening the wellbeing offers, using tools that focus on coaching, mental health support and more, they are speaking directly to candidate needs.