Mark Rhodes, marketing director at reed.co.uk
Mark Rhodes, marketing director at leading recruitment firm reed.co.uk, looks at the challenges and opportunities facing recruiters as we get set for post-Brexit Britain.
With unemployment at an historic low, skills shortages affecting a number of key sectors and impending new legislation, recruiters face a year of challenges in 2018.
To identify key trends for the year ahead, reed.co.uk commissioned independent research of over 500 hiring decision makers to find out the top challenges facing the recruitment sector in 2018.
Our survey, carried out at the the start of the year, showed “attracting and hiring the right talent” to be the number one concern amongst recruitment decision makers at all levels for the year ahead.
January saw a 7% annual rise in the number of new jobs available on reed.co.uk and, with record numbers of people in work, ongoing uncertainty about the possible economic impact of Brexit and the challenges it may present over access to labour, it’s not hard to see why candidate attraction is top of the list.
Recruiters will use every tactic they can to ensure they reach the best candidates and tell the story of what makes working for their organisation different. Employer brand, benefits and remuneration, the offer of flexible working, employee referrals and networking, and learning and development opportunities will all feature heavily as a new ‘war for talent’ is waged.
In such a competitive, candidate-led market, pre-empting the need to recruit will continue to give HR and recruitment practitioners an advantage and the first step for many will be focusing on retaining talent.
Staff retention was cited as the second biggest concern for the 500 hiring decision makers surveyed. And whilst the majority feel confident about their employee retention rates, many saw 2018 as a time for improvement, with 55% saying they will increase investment in employee retention in the next 12 months.
Any business that handles personal data will be making plans for the introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulations on 25 May. And for many recruiters, who deal in personal information every day, concerns over GDPR are already giving them a headache, which is why it’s number three on our list of recruitment challenges for the year ahead.
To ensure compliance, companies must assess the way that they process and store personal data, and make certain that they abide by the new rules. And whilst over half of the companies we surveyed (51%) are feeling well prepared for the coming legislation, having already put in plans to document the use of personal data, how it’s processed and stored, others are making extra provisions by providing extra training for their staff on new processes and compliance.
Artificial intelligence and new technology
Advancements in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and technology will play a growing role in all areas of recruitment and many believe 2018 will be the year it really lifts off. And for all the fear that robots will take our jobs, many see the advent of new technology as being highly complementary to the recruitment process.
At its heart, recruitment is about connecting people and new technology is increasingly being used to facilitate better, more frequent connections. What’s more, used in the right way, technology can be used to eliminate unconscious bias and deliver a more equitable recruitment experience.
Gender pay and diversity
The issue of increasing workforce diversity will continue to offer one of recruitment’s biggest challenges in in 2018. And as the deadline for gender salary reporting looms in April, there will be a new focus on the gender pay gap.
Businesses with a headcount of 250 or more will be preparing to publish details of their gender pay gap annually, whilst smaller businesses will now considering the role of gender in their remuneration.
This is, of course, only one area where recruiters will be continuing to push a diversity agenda, with businesses constantly seeking to ensure they hire and retain a diverse workforce.
We’ve highlighted only a handful of the biggest challenges recruiters will face in 2018. Skills shortages, salary demands and general economic uncertainty will all contribute to a challenging year for recruitment professionals. But with the jobs market continuing to show resilience, recruiters will have plenty of reason to embrace the challenges ahead with positivity and enthusiasm.