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Candidate marketing

The UK Job Market Is Booming — So Where Have All the Applicants Gone?

David Devine


As Brexit approaches, British employers are struggling to fill the sudden glut of jobs.

The UK job market is on the rise -- this past July, the number of new openings grew at the fastest rate the country has seen in more than two years; however, employers aren’t celebrating. In fact, for many, this rapid growth is cause for serious concern.

According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, “worker availability” saw its biggest drop in a year-and-a-half this past July. This lack of qualified talent has forced UK employers to raise their starting salaries to the highest they've been in 20 months. They’ve also raised hourly wages for short-term staff. So what’s going on here?

The Impact of Brexit

As you’d probably expect, Brexit’s looming presence is partially to blame here. As negotiations around freedom of movement for EU nationals carry on, many foreign-born workers are already exiting the country. As a result, nearly every UK sector is coping with a growing staffing crisis.

“The parts of the economy most reliant on European workers are under even more pressure as many EU workers return home,” REC Chief Executive Kevin Green said. “Employers are not just struggling to hire the brightest and best, but also people to fill roles such as chefs, drivers and warehouse workers.

Wading into the Pool

In the face of this staffing shortage, recruiters must take proactive measures to expand their domestic applicant pools. To reach more UK workers, companies will need to turn to more engaging, au courant tactics that are aligned with evolving consumer preferences. Gamified testing, dynamic employer branding videos and maintaining an active presence on social media channels can all help employers cast a wider net without sacrificing quality of hire in the process.

For example, interactive testing is a highly engaging way to identify potential right-fit candidates earlier on in the process — it doesn’t require recruiters’ active involvement, but it helps narrow the initial applicant pool to only the most qualified individuals, thereby minimising the strain on internal resources while improving outcomes in both the short and long term.

Of course, these “inbound tactics” should be supplemented with more direct and proactive marketing efforts. Utilising digital advertising platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook can help you reach prospective hires based on highly specific demographic and behavioural criteria. Target by education level, location, current income, interests and more.  

Panning for Gold

In a skills shortage, you can’t always rely upon demonstrable experience as an indicator of right-fit talent. Oftentimes you need to look at a candidate’s softer skills in order to determine who’s likely to provide the most long-term value — i.e., who might be a great future employee, provided they get the proper training and guidance once they’re added to the team. 

Pre-recorded video interviews are a great way to get a better feel for a candidate’s raw potential during initial screening without taking on the added burden of conducting in-person interviews at such an early stage. Taking that idea a step further, LaunchPad has actually developed a new, predictive hiring platform that can actually assess a candidate’s fitness for a given position entirely on its own.

Check out LaunchPad CEO Will Hamilton’s recent blog post to learn more about how it works.

The UK’s hiring problems may seem dire, but the good news is that there are plenty of affordable, impactful solutions for employers to turn to for help. With the proper talent marketing and assessment solutions, you’ll be able to bridge the current talent gap and continue down the path to success.

David Devine

Sales Director