UK Experiences The Lowest Unemployment Levels in 44 Years

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The UK’s unemployment rates have reached a 44-year low according to the Office for National Statistics. Figures for November to January showed a jobless rate of 3.9%, which is well below the EU average of 6.5%. This is great news for the economy and a reason for celebration, especially with the uncertainty of Brexit, but it has it’s downside for Employers trying to recruit.

In a ‘buyers market’, the candidates are spoilt for choice with many vacancies to choose from and the opportunity to negotiate the best deal in order to pick their best option. Recruiters and HR departments are finding it increasingly hard to find appropriately skilled staff. It is not always possible to match what the competition is offering, especially when your budget does not stretch to big shiny salary and benefit packages.

The good news is that all is not lost and there are things you can do to set yourself apart. The first thing to look at is working on retention and reducing the need to recruit (unless of course it is a new role). Employees are looking for more than just financial compensation nowadays; they want a better working environment with increased engagement, flexible working options, meaningful benefits and a sense that their well-being is a priority. Fostering some, if not all, of these practices will help your reputation as well as keep the team members you really don’t want to lose. Speaking of reputation, encourage your employees to be ‘ambassadors’ and post a review on platforms such as Glassdoor.

Unfortunately, this is not an overnight fix so you will need to optimise your recruiting process. Here are a few ideas. Advocate promotion from within by looking at who you already have and build them up. If you aren’t already doing so, get your adverts on social media, as well as LinkedIn. Include an email address on the advert so that candidates can contact someone to ask questions about the role. Feeling like you are part of a big impersonal automated experience will never match up to having actual human interaction. If you are hiring entry-level roles or apprentices, get in touch with local colleges or sixth forms to find out if they are doing a careers day or an Apprenticeship fair. Always include a job description with the advert. How about offering a ‘refer a friend scheme’ and letting your employees help you recruit.

Then there is the interview. Even the most experienced and confident person out there will be nervous going into an interview. Make them at ease by having a pre-interview screening on the phone. If possible, greet the candidate personally before entering the room, as this will help settle their nerves. Be patient and friendly and create a comfortable environment.

The long and short of it is that there are not a lot of people out of work and it’s getting harder to hire people. The competition are finding ways to nudge their way to the front and businesses need to continuously review their HR procedures and practices to keep up.

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