Are You Losing Out On Great Talent?

Empty 31 August 2021

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen new and different ways of working, and now it’s safe to say that we’re experiencing a seismic shift in the way in which people want to be employed. And could this shift be impacting on your ability to attract the best talent to your organisation? 

Let’s take a look at the challenges currently faced by a range of organisations:

- Automation and digitisation – as technology advances more roles, even highly-skilled ones, are being automated, leading to a new emphasis on candidates being technologically skilled

- Global operations – more operations are being conducted remotely

- Competition in the recruitment industry – specialised skill sets are so in demand that employees have a choice of employers via a wide range of recruitment vehicles

- Changing demographics – many factors influence people to keep working for longer, and similarly, a recent graduate and a professional near retirement will want vastly different things from their roles, younger people being more willing to move both roles and companies

- Flexibility – the increasing ‘gig economy’ offers employers more flexibility but requires employees to diversify and evolve their skills

- Diversity – once capable of making a crucial difference to an employee’s choice, diversity and inclusion is now simply a matter of course

It is essential that businesses address these disruptions, which have had a massive impact on the skills shortage, especially SMEs who may experience increasing difficulties in recruiting and retaining the staff they need to prosper in an uncertain future.

Skills shortages

The UK skills shortage is costing organisations £6.3 billion, with some regions seeing as many as fifty percent of roles going unfilled.

This is a highly worrying development and may impact on UK growth as we seek to recover from the effect that COVID-19 has had on our economy. In fact it’s been suggested that the UK economy could benefit from an additional £38b per annum if the reported skills gaps were filled.


According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) seasonally adjusted total pay for the whole of the UK economy was up to 8.8% in June this year. Starting salaries are at a seven year high with incentive packages, such as signing on bonuses, increasingly being offered to tempt the right people. In fact, some organisations are so anxious to on-board staff that they are paying applicants to attend interviews.

Given the issues faced by many employees during the pandemic – such as furlough payments, redundancy forcing necessary reskilling, and working from home becoming an increasingly popular option – the demand for staff and the availability of other options has led to wage inflation in a new candidate-led market. 

Many employers are, however, discovering that raising salaries is not the only way to attract the talent they need. In an increasingly competitive market for talent, organisations are finding that potential employees are not only looking for a good salary but also the opportunity to learn more about their role or have a clear career progression path outlined within a company as well as striking a more favourable work-life balance. 

As such, many large organisations are now best placed to offer such packages, but smaller companies must raise their game too, in order to remain competitive.


In contrast to the advantage larger firms may have over smaller ones in terms of salary, smaller organisations are actually leading the way when it comes to post-pandemic recruitment agility.

Many large firms were in the process of downsizing as the pandemic hit and have been slow to react to the new normal, even continuing the cutting back process during the last eighteen months. 

Smaller firms, in contrast, have been more responsive to the upturn in the markets. It’s been suggested that this is because they were ready for expansion before the pandemic, put those plans on hold during lockdown, and have quickly implemented them since the lifting of government restrictions. Others have indicated that smaller organisations were less reliant on new business to cover staff costs, preferring ‘ongoing adviser fees’, and were, therefore, less badly affected by their ability to source new business. 

Certainly, many smaller firms have been astute enough to recruit talent who had been ‘let go’ by larger firms during the pandemic, bucking the trend of a freeze on recruitment by the bigger organisations.

It’s essential that your company doesn’t miss out on growth, especially as businesses look to the future. Today's organisations must be responsive, proactive and progressive in looking at new ways to attract and retain staff in order to give themselves a competitive edge.

If you’re unsure on how to attract and retain the best talent across the market, speak to WSH Recruitment to see how we can help.

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