War for talent increases threefold as labour turnover slows down

The proportion of employers reporting an increase in competition for well-qualified talent has risen threefold from 20 per cent in 2009 to 62 per cent in 2013.

That’s according to the CIPD/Hays Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey 2013, launched today at the CIPD’s annual Recruitment conference in London.

The annual survey, which examines resourcing and talent planning strategies across private, public and voluntary sector organisations, found that six in ten organisations had experienced difficulties filling vacancies in the past year. Managerial and professional vacancies are the hardest ones to fill (52 per cent of organisations reported difficulties), followed by technical specialists, particularly in the manufacturing and production sector (46% of organisations overall reported difficulties in this area, compared with 57 per cent in the manufacturing and production sector).

The survey shows that the rate of labour turnover has declined steadily since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, and one in six organisations reported that an absence of applicants has contributed to recruitment difficulties.

Ksenia Zheltoukhova, research associate at the CIPD, comments: “Although our Labour Market Outlook survey found that the low-skilled jobs market is a battle ground for job seekers, with more than 40 applicants per vacancy, our annual resourcing survey shows that employers still struggle to find talent that is well qualified. Low rates of labour turnover suggest that some workers at the top end of the labour market are staying put in their jobs in these economically uncertain times, meaning employers have to work harder than ever to find the right talent to fill vacancies.

“As well as building a strong employer brand and thinking creatively about attraction and recruitment strategies in order to attract passive job seekers, employers will have to widen the pools from which they recruit and develop talent, as well as creating new and varied career paths driven by a culture of lifelong learning. For example, employers are increasingly appointing less qualified candidates and building their capacity to develop skills internally. Inclusive recruitment practices are also an investment in future skills retention, crucial as the war for talent intensifies.”

Barney Ely, Director at Hays Human Resources, said: “We are starting to see confidence slowly returning to the jobs market with interesting and challenging opportunities available for those highly skilled professionals who are looking to make their next move. However, these workers are still being cautious when considering a new role so employers are facing a competitive market when trying to attract people to fill skills gaps. They should step up to this challenge by retaining and training their existing workforce with career development and progression initiatives, and by looking at broader talent pools to ensure they have the skill set to drive business growth.”

The survey finds that most common approaches for addressing recruitment difficulties were to up-skill existing employees for hard to recruit for positions and to recruit candidates from a different sector. Corporate websites and recruitment agencies are considered to be the most effective techniques to attract new talent. The survey also showed a marked increase in the use of social media, particularly professional networks such as LinkedIn, to attract candidates. However, while more than half of organisations report that they make use of social media in resourcing, just two fifths have a dedicated strategy and only a similar proportion has someone on their team that has been trained in how to use social media effectively. Ksenia Zheltoukhova comments: “These technologies and networks are not new anymore, and employers who are not making effective use of them are placing themselves at a significant disadvantage in today’s competitive jobs market.”