Official statistics in the U.K. show that job vacancies jumped to a high of 1.2 million in September 2021. At the same time, the U.K. Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows an increase in the number of payroll employees to 29.2 million.

In the post-Brexit phase, U.K-based companies are facing dual challenges in their recruitment. Their first challenge is Reaching or finding the right candidates from a limited job pool. Their second challenge is Conversion or the process of making potential candidates apply to a job position in their company.

Indeed, according to economist Jack Kennedy in his 2021 UK Labour Market review, Brexit has made it tougher for EU workers to travel and fill open job positions in the U.K. 

In 2022, there is an ongoing “war” to hire the right talent. What is driving this wave of recruitment-related challenges in the U.K. labour market? Can technology help recruiters meet labour shortage challenges? Let’s discuss.

5 Recruitment Challenges in the U.K. – & How Technology can help

Here are some of the leading recruitment-related challenges across various industry domains in the U.K.

Great Resignation

According to a recent ONS survey, nearly one million employees changed their jobs in the third quarter of 2021, which is a new record. This Indeed report states, “high vacancies along with rising pay in other industry sectors have provided greater opportunity and incentive to move.”

The ongoing great resignation wave in the technology sector is prompting more tech workers to leave their jobs due to various factors including:

  • Employers not offering the facility of remote (or hybrid) working
  • Lesser wages and lack of recognition
  • Lack of career progress
  • Work-related burnout

The demand for technical skills is at its peak in 2022. Hence, job positions in the STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are the most difficult to fill currently.

How can employers use technology to overcome the challenge of the Great Resignation? Here are some ways:

  • Use technology to enable hybrid and flexible remote working options for technology workers.
  • Automate all manual (or repetitive) tasks performed by human employees, so that they can focus their time on high-value tasks.
  • Use technology to identify process bottlenecks, thus improving both process efficiency and employee satisfaction.

Recruiting technical workers

The U.K. technology industry is valued at £184 billion. With over 1.5 million workers employed in this industry, there is constant competition among technology companies for recruiting the best talent. This challenge has further increased in the wake of the Brexit referendum and the COVID-19 pandemic.

94% of technology companies agree that there is an ongoing shortage of technical talent. At the same time, only around 60% of these companies offer technical training programs for fresh employees. With the Brexit referendum, there is a growing sense of uncertainty regarding U.K immigration policies for foreign workers.

U.K-based companies need to rethink their recruitment strategy and make it smoother and faster. In this regard, technology can:

  • Make it easier for potential candidates to apply for technical roles
  • Fast track job applications for suitable candidates
  • Automate the resume screening process and match the right candidate profile with the job requirements.

Diversity and inclusiveness

Even as U.K-based employers are facing a severe worker shortage; employees are still facing high levels of class and race discrimination from employers. A CV-Library study found that two-thirds of British employees have felt that class is an important factor when securing a new job. Besides, 60% of Scotland candidates have reported having been discriminated against for their Scottish accent.

75% of job seekers evaluate the employer brand before applying to an open position. As the battle for the top talent continues, employers must look to “differentiate” themselves from the pack. One such approach is to build diversity and inclusiveness in their workforce. Over 20% of technology companies now agree on the importance of including more women in their workforce.

To build more objectivity into their hiring process, employers need to:

  • Leverage AI technology for bias-free hiring
  • Use Talent analytics to identify and manage suitable applicants
  • Deploy skill and personality assessment tools and platforms for an unbiased mode of evaluating suitable candidates

Labour shortage

According to this July 2021 article, UK employers are currently facing the worst labour shortage since 1997. Over 40% of the larger companies in the U.K are currently struggling to attract new talent. Overall, labour shortages have been widespread in industry sectors like hospitality, healthcare, and construction.

To add to the challenges, the British government introduced new immigration policies in January 2021. This has made it time-consuming and expensive for foreign EU workers to get U.K work visas. Claire Warnes of KPMG UK predicts that “the increasing skill gap in the workforce has the potential to slow down U.K.’s economic recovery.” Official statistics reveal that around 1.5 million workers are still temporarily “laid off” due to pandemic-related restrictions.

Here is how technology can help companies deal with the ongoing labour shortage:

  • The use of industrial robots in the manufacturing industry to complement the existing workforce
  • Investing into upskilling and reskilling tools to prepare the existing workforce for other tasks.

Wage inflation

Thanks to increasing labour demand and skill shortage, U.K-based employees are witnessing a steep rise in starting salaries. Industry sectors with the most skill shortages are showing the most wage inflation. For instance, the advertised pay for vehicle drivers rose by 8.3% in January 2022, followed by construction workers (8.2%) and manufacturing workers (7.9%).

According to the ONS survey, low-skilled workers showed a significant jump of 73% in job changes. Higher pay was the main reason driving this shift. An October 2021 survey by Indeed found that nearly half of the respondents cited “higher pay” as the main reason for a job change.

To overcome the challenge of wage inflation, employers must leverage technologies to boost employee productivity and develop new capabilities. Hiring companies must invest in technology tools to automate mundane “human” tasks and improve their business processes.

Conclusion

In the face of the Brexit referendum, U.K-based companies are facing the toughest challenge of attracting and recruiting the best talent. Organizations need to look at innovative ways to connect with active job seekers and passive talent.

At X0PA, we enable our business customers to achieve efficiency in their employee hiring process. Our AI-based solution is designed to maximize objectivity in every hiring process. We can help you streamline your entire recruitment process. Fill up our online form today!