Talent shortage worst since 2008, says recruiter

Almost a quarter of employers in the UK are unable to find the talent they need, according to the latest talent shortage survey by recruiter ManpowerGroup.

This has more than doubled since its lowest reported point in 2010 (at 9%), and is the highest reported shortage since 2008. The worst affected are organisations with more than 250 employees – more than half (51%) of larger employers reported shortages, according to ManpowerGroup.

The sector with the most acute shortage of talent is skilled trades, which includes electricians, welders and mechanics. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are next most in demand; while accounting and finance roles are the third hardest to fill.

ManpowerGroup’s research into employer brand, entitled Closing the Skills Gap: What Workers Want, revealed the need for organisations to consider what target candidates might be looking for from an employer.

It found that workers between the age of 35 and 44 want the option to work more flexibly or remotely as a priority, while those between 45 and 54 feel pay is more important when searching for a new role.

Those over 65 have a number of reasons for deciding to stay in work, but often look for proximity to home and a good work life balance.

Younger workers, aged between 18 and 24, look for a good immediate manager and a diversity of employees across the organisation; millennials (25 to 34) viewed increases in salary and childcare subsidies as an advantage. All workers valued autonomy over when and where work gets done, a good balance between work and life, and the chance to build skills.

UK director of ManpowerGroup Chris Gray said: “With growing talent shortages across the UK, it’s no longer a question of simply finding talent; we need to build it. Organisations need to be agile, and willing to stretch their candidate offering, increasing salaries isn’t enough of a differentiator anymore.”

He pointed out that while the UK has a severe talent shortage, the rest of the world is reporting shortages of 54%. However, employers needed to find ways “to plug talent gaps before they emerge”.

He added: “Whilst salary size remains a decisive factor for the attraction and retention of workers, demands for workplace flexibility continue to gain importance across all age demographics, as do businesses with a strong purpose.

“Candidates are seeking more meaningful work and to create ‘one life’, the balance of work and home. Businesses must be agile in embracing these preferences to shore up access to the skills they need; embracing these preferences to help safeguard future talent pools.”

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