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Recruiters Can be Fundamental in Addressing the Skills Shortage

Clare Hopping

King’s College London King’s College London

Despite high rates of unemployment, skills shortage in the UK is still a hot topic among recruiters. What are the new tasks of recruitment specialists in this context?

It is not a rare occasion for UK companies today to experience a significant shortage of suitable candidates for both key and secondary positions. For many businesses, failure to find the best fit for a job means the difference between expanding and scaling down operations.

At a more macro level, economists and recruiters fear that if small and medium enterprises don’t cope with skills shortage, they won’t be able to face the challenges of the economic recovery following the recent recession. As the BBC reports, skills shortages could prevent continued recovery.

How can HR professionals and recruiters in the UK address the problems of the skills shortage and prevent the economy from going backwards?

Aggressive ‘Social’ Headhunting

If they haven’t done so yet, recruiters will have to learn some aggressive strategies to attract fresh talent to their companies.

Many specialists use social media to reach out to promising talent and approach the perfect fit for a position directly, without waiting for him or her to apply.

According to a survey carried out by Jobvite, as many as 94% of recruiters and HR specialists use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts. The result is that 78% of them have eventually made a hire through social media. Indeed, the survey points out, anyone who is not leveraging social referrals is behind the curve.

In fact, headhunting has already ventured out beyond the traditional borders of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, reaching out to Pinterest and even YouTube to find recruits.

So, competing with other companies to attract the most suitable candidates, recruiters might want to consider the opportunity of searching for talent on social media websites, where they can use a more dynamic approach for finding new employees.

Going Overseas

LinkedIn is the classic example of a platform providing access to an ocean of specialists worldwide.

But even without social networks, recruiters can use other channels to look for specialists from abroad (cooperation with foreign embassies to the UK, international labour fairs, joint programmes with foreign universities and so on), in order to import talent that they cannot find or afford at home.

With the help of attractive relocation packages, promising career opportunities and a promise for a fresh start, a lot of fresh talent would happily move country.

True, this is related to legislative changes too, as some liberalisation of immigration control might be required in order to compensate for the skills shortage in the country.

According to HR Magazine, London Mayor Boris Johnson is one of the advocates of the idea that attracting highly-qualified talent from overseas will help to cope with skills shortages in many industries, such as fashion, technology, hospitality, carpeting, and more.

Calita Kabir/Flickr Calita Kabir/Flickr

Attract and Retain

As the job market exists in a constant flux, valuable candidates are in а very favourable position when it comes to choosing their next job. Using the opportunities of the web, candidates tend to reference-check their future bosses before accepting a job, and very often base their decisions on what they have read online, or have heard from former and present employees.

In this sense, some of the new tasks of HR professionals include marketing their company to potential new hires as well as discovering the talent.

This can happen during the interview, when the recruiter has the chance to present the company culture, business plans, prospects for development and working environment in order to create positive expectations of the company life.

Marketing efforts are also visible in the very presence of the recruiter: in their behaviour, social media activity, communication style and even clothing choice.

Flexible Strategy

Today, recruiters’ responsibilities don’t end with the hiring of a candidate. HR professionals must take part in the structuring, monitoring and supervision of the workflow within a company so as to guarantee that all the manpower is used efficiently.

Recruiters need to also identify the most suitable ways for organising the workflow and engaging the employees with the company’s bottom line in mind.

In this regard, they will need to pinpoint the best working rhythm in the company and determine a number of issues, like whether the company will need full-time or part-time workers, if freelance contributors be used and if any outsourcing should be applied. Eventually, a mutually beneficial and effective work organisation should be achieved.

Paul Keheler/Flickr Paul Keheler/Flickr

Broad – Broader – Life Long Learning

In the context of the recent changes that various business sectors are undergoing, related to the advance of online marketing and e-commerce and in keeping with the need to introduce sustainable practices, companies find it harder to discover highly-qualified talent with broad profiles. One-off specialists are no longer required in retail, marketing, public relations, and other sectors.

Today, PRs, for example, need to possess knowledge in the technical, computing, web design, data analysis and other spheres. In order to be competitive in the job market, retailers must know the whole supply chain logic, activities, loopholes and best practices inside and out.

In this sense, recruitment specialists must focus on finding flexible individuals eager to learn, develop personally and to take part in the company’s development.

In other words, one of the new tasks of modern recruiters is to understand how to use the full potential of the talent in order to meet the company demands and business objectives.

Flickr user MC4 Army/Wikipedia Flickr user MC4 Army/Wikipedia

Bright Future

Indeed, the future is looking bright for the UK job market and economy. Still, recruiters and HR professionals have a lot of new tasks to fulfil in order to help their companies find the best talent, use the workforce most efficiently and to ensure that they meet the highest industry standards and achieve business goals.

Clare Hopping

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms.