ECI’s The Next Generation of Hiring report now live

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With recruitment key to business growth objectives, we surveyed 200+ HR leaders to find out where they are looking to hire in the next 12 months, the biggest challenges they’re facing and what changes have driven the most success in recruiting in the current market. Read the report here:

ECI The Next Generation of Hiring

UK skills gap is the most prominent hiring challenge facing HR leaders

The research revealed that HR leaders believe that the most prominent hiring challenge they currently face is a lack of technical skills and knowledge. Nearly a fifth (18.3%) of managers said this was their single biggest obstacle, highlighting the growing concern over the UK’s skills gap. The current labour shortages prompted by various factors, including Brexit and Covid-19, appear to have further widened that gap.

HR managers also stated that a lack of industry experience and salary expectations were the next biggest challenges in hiring. Given the current inflationary market, it is likely that salary will become a more significant challenge for HR leaders trying to keep pace with the competition over the next 12 months.

Changes to recruitment processes driving the most success for HR leaders

To help overcome these challenges, managers are using a range of techniques and tools in their recruitment and onboarding processes, with a quarter (24%) of managers saying that the most success they have seen is from changing their recruitment process. Examples of this may be streamlining time to the final interview or giving candidates more access to current team members.

Social media and technology

When it comes to changing recruitment processes, nearly half (45%) of managers said they now use social media platforms to help support their recruitment and onboarding, with the use of social media even more prevalent in smaller companies (57%).

Indeed, greater investment in technologies is evidenced by the breadth of technology being used by HR leaders. Four in ten (38%) managers say they now use onboarding platforms, 35% use applicant tracking software and 29% use candidate screening or psychometric platforms.

However, the use of AI and virtual reality has had a lower pick up among HR managers to help with recruitment and onboarding, with just 18% and 15% of managers saying they have used these types of technology, respectively.

Our research clearly shows that recruitment will be integral to the growth of UK businesses in the coming years. However, a current skills and labour shortage has clearly hit the plans of HR managers looking to help their organisations achieve that. Many firms are struggling to find enough of the right candidates to fill new roles as demand across industries surges following the pandemic.

Given the inflationary environment, businesses are trying to respond by raising salary bands to meet new expectations from workers, but these are not the only tactics firms are implementing to reach the candidates they need. Whether it’s adopting technology, such as applicant tracking software or artificial intelligence; using social media to reach a younger cohort of potential recruits; or looking outside their usual talent pool, businesses are being more creative and inclusive to fulfil recruitment plans and reach their growth objectives.

Stephen Roberts

Partner, ECI

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