As the economy shows signs of life post-Brexit, organisations have begun to resume their graduate recruitment efforts – but the skills gap continues to cast a long shadow on hiring.
Several months after the country’s referendum vote to leave the European Union, the UK is finally seeing the light at the end of the hiring tunnel. While many employers scaled back recruitment efforts in June amid concerns about the post-Brexit economy, a report released by The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) on September 8 has yielded encouraging results: in August, for the first time in three months, permanent staff placement was on the rebound.
This is undoubtedly excellent news, as was the ensuing REC report that detailed further growth in September; but with 10,000 baby boomers predicted to reach retirement age every single day until the year 2030, the daunting task of addressing the growing skills gap continues to preoccupy recruiters all around the country.
The Economy Rebounds
In addition to the definitive rise in the volume of permanent staff placements, the REC report pulled from the most recent UK labour data indicated that permanent salary growth has quickened, and temp billings are increasing at their fastest pace since May. Overall, it seems that the British public is coming to terms with Brexit, and that the UK economy will not fall into a recession this year.
Unfortunately, even though companies have resumed their search for new hires at full steam, there remains a dearth of qualified candidates on the job market. This is especially true in the fields of engineering and medicine, where the global funnel of skilled applicants is not adequate to fill current vacancies.
The Skills Gap
A 2013 survey by PwC found that 58% of CEOs around the world were worried about their ability to grow as a company because employees with the appropriate skills weren’t available for hire. And there’s little to suggest much has changed in the three years since. In the UK, traditional manufacturing businesses have been hit particularly hard by this trend; according to James Brockbank, “73% of manufacturing firms have experienced difficulties in filling skilled vacancies.”
To address the skills gap, the British government is encouraging young people to undertake apprenticeships in understaffed fields by raising the minimum wage and offering generous grants if certain criteria are met. Beginning next April, certain large corporations will be subject to a levy to fund these apprenticeships at big and small organisations alike.
While these government-mandated programs may do much to alleviate the skills gap in the long-term, many employers are searching for a quicker solution. When it comes to filling niche, highly technical or executive-level roles, employers must turn their focus to streamlining recruitment processes.
Tech to the Rescue
These days, the best way for employers to cast a wide net without sacrificing the ability to accurately and objectively assess candidates is by implementing innovative recruitment technologies. Graduate recruits are more tech savvy, and therefore more comfortable with technology playing a direct role in their job hunt. Meanwhile, integrating the right tech into the hiring process also benefits the recruiter by providing a more efficient and less biased means of finding the perfect hire.
Video interviewing, automated pre-screening tools, and data-led decision-making platforms allow recruiters to more quickly discern whether or not a candidate will be a good fit – up to six times faster than telephone interviews, in fact. Such technologies can also improve the candidate experience and bolster diversity within organisations. Video screening allows recruiters to quickly identify best-fit candidates from a broad applicant pool, while video assessments can help recruiters judge communication skills, strengths and weaknesses, and even a candidate’s motivation.
As recruiters strategize a best approach to the post-Brexit job market and attempt to close the all-important skills gap, data-led solutions have the power to help them find and hire the best possible candidates. Technology is there for recruiters to lean on (and learn from) – and the potential rewards are limitless.