Actions Which Reduce Risk In Recruitment
5th October 2017
I've always thought that recruitment was a pretty useful business barometer and although it is early days we recognise a welcome slow and steady improvement in confidence, with companies taking a cautious, considered approach to hiring. From the candidate perspective there is caution too, but also curiosity. Sensing a shift in the job market there are an increasing number of enquiries from people interested to understand how the dramatic changes of the last few years have impacted opportunities for career progression; their own employability and, of course, the monetary value of their CV, skills and experience.
We encourage candidates not to look back on the heady years of inflated rates and excessive counter-offers as, broadly speaking, salaries have remained flat over the last 12 months. Specialists have had it particularly tough, with the intrinsic value of their niche skills diminished because their roles have been absorbed by capable, but often over-stretched, generalists.
The preference for "hands on" generalists in a cost constrained market is understandable. Organisations not afraid to hire over-qualified generalists have benefited from extensive knowledge and experience while having to expend little on training and development. But in the longer term this will lead to skills erosion if highly competent professionals remain confined in positions which do not offer development.
Friends often ask me for advice they can share with their children on how to prepare for the future world of work. It's a difficult question to answer as many careers our children will pursue don't even exist today. We are already witnessing intensified demand for skills driven by technological change (such as web developers and particular skill sets around cloud and cyber security) and we anticipate the outcome of Brexit negotiations will also impact the needs for specialist skills across the legal, supply chain and contracts specialisms.
As market conditions continue to improve employers will need to take a measured approach to reward and remuneration strategies. It is critical that employees understand the wider context in which decisions around salary and benefits are made. After years of salary stagnation and cut-back benefits, an uplift which is not directly related to basic pay could be interpreted as an arbitrary gesture, rather than a considered decision which rewards an individual's experience and performance.
Care should be taken when reinstating benefits to avoid false economies. Benefits are only effective recruitment and retention devices if they are appealing and relevant, particularly in today's multi-generational workforce where the personal drivers for productive working vary widely across the age ranges.
Uncertainty makes it hard to look forward and plan for the future but there are many ways to de-risk recruitment including:
- Reduce reactive hiring by identifying existing and future skills needs.
- Consider how fit for purpose employee development programmes are for filling those needs and the alternative options available to you, such as apprentice hiring or interim placements.
- Assess your approach to determining baseline salary, taking into account the new market conditions we are working in and the individual's experience in relation to the role they perform.
- Review which benefits are relevant to your workforce and the type of candidate profiles your business seeks to attract.