The UK recruitment market has changed dramatically over the last few years. What was once a client-driven market following the recession, when unemployment rose to around 8.5% in the UK, is now anything but. Although the labour market has since stabilised, economic uncertainties around Brexit have created a further shift towards a candidate-driven market. 

The days when companies could find good talent while offering lower salaries and less preferential benefits are long over. With fewer UK candidates willing to risk changing jobs due to ongoing uncertainties about the future, and international candidates being less likely to consider roles in the UK, the large candidate pool of a few years ago, has shrunk.  This has resulted in the lowest unemployment rate in the UK (4.1%) in 40 years, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

This means that the few candidates who are out there looking for new opportunities are finding work much more easily. With skilled roles at a premium, candidates can afford to be choosier; they’re more likely to wait for the right job to come along with the right salary and perks they’re looking for. 

While this is good news for highly skilled engineers and maintenance professionals who are now in such demand, it’s not a great time for employers, who have been left struggling to recruit the right people while retaining their current staff.   

If you want to stay competitive by attracting and retaining the talent your company needs in the current market, here are the strategies you’ll need to consider going forward. 

Monitor and Maintain Your Employer Brand 



The most important thing you can understand about your company’s employer brand is that it will continue to change and grow with time – regardless of whether you’re refining it or not.  

Employer brands are organic things; they require frequent attention to ensure that they don’t veer off in the wrong direction. The best companies know how to manage the perceptions they build around their business as it grows, carefully monitoring their reputation on everything from social media to satisfaction surveys.  

There are always going to be people out there talking about your companybeing aware of those conversations ensures that you can start to steer it in the right direction. Failing to monitor your efforts may mean that you miss out on some of the best talent the next time you need to fill a gap in your team, which can be a very costly mistake in the current market. 

Rethink Your Recruitment Process 

There are a few things to consider in rethinking your recruitment process.  

First of all, you’ll need to ensure that you create talent-attracting job adverts. In addition to using an accurate job title and including the correct information in the job summary, you should align the description with your employer brand and clearly demonstrate what you can offer. In other words, seek to sell your company in the ad. 

Secondly, you have to shorten the recruitment timescale. In a candidate-driven market, time is not a luxury that companies have. You simply cannot afford to keep a candidate waiting through a lengthy recruitment process. To avoid disappointment, you’ll need to make decisions quickly and follow up with an offer of employment as soon as possible once you have found the right candidate, or you risk losing out to competitor. 

Lastly, in addition to being decisive and expedient, you’ll also want to be more flexible in terms of your expectations. In a candidate-driven market, employers don’t have the luxury of finding the ideal candidate who ticks all of their boxes.  

Rather than spending all of your time in the interview scoring candidates against your criteria, set aside some of the time to sell your company to them, by talking about company culture, recent business wins, professional development opportunities, and sharing success stories of previous and current employees who’ve contributed to the company. 

Offer Better Compensation & Benefits 



Regardless of generation, gender, and geography, employees want to be compensated fairly for the work they do. However, compensation needn’t be thought of only in terms of monetary value.  

Candidates are becoming increasingly concerned not only with the basic salary they are offered but with all of the other perks that they may or may not be offered as part of their contract. A robust pension package, private healthcare benefits and other rewards are all valuable incentives which can help to recruit and retain talent in a candidate driven market.  

In addition to offering a competitive salary and benefits package, you’ll want to consider which other perks you can leverage that might give your company a competitive edge.  

The 2018 Global Talent Trends study found that 51% of employees want more focus on work-life balance. Regardless of the industry, flexible working hours, remote working opportunities, and generous holiday packages are increasingly on the wish list of many in-demand candidates. 

A study on the benefits most valued by job seekers which written about in the Harvard Business Review revealed that eighty-eight percent of respondents were more likely to seriously consider a job offering flexible hours, while 80% stated that having more vacation time was an appealing perk.  

Promote Training And Advancement Opportunities 

Training often goes in tandem with advancement and career growth; you can’t really have one without the other. Opportunities for professional development offer many benefits to both employees and employers, from increased retention and healthier company culture to improved efficiency.  

Employers who offer clear career paths and are prepared to invest in continued professional development for their staff are likely to attract and keep the best applicants because it shows that a company is invested in their future. Staff are more likely to leave because of lack of opportunities than for any other reason.  

Have Solid Onboarding Process In Place 



The best way to address employee retention is to find a way to immerse each employee in the workings of your business from the start, which is why having a good onboarding plan is essential.  

Onboarding helps new hires to understand the performance and social expectations of their new position. From teaching crucial skills to ensuring your people are part of your company culture, proper onboarding leads the way to an invested and productive new hire.  

Building a high-performing team is undoubtedly a time-consuming and expensive process, and onboarding is one of the best ways to make sure that you retain the talent you’ve invested in. Organisations with an onboarding process achieve up to 62% greater new employee productivity, along with 50% better new hire retention.  

Seek Help From A Specialist Recruiter 

In addition to implementing the strategies mentioned above, the fastest and most effective way of finding the right talent for your company is to enlist the help of a consultative recruiter who understands your sector.  

An experienced consultative recruiter like Sigma Recruitment can give you the insight and guidance necessary to streamline your recruitment process and target the right talent because they have a more informed and objective perspective on where your company fits in the recruitment market and how your offers are likely to be perceived by potential candidates.  

Knowing where your company stands amongst the competition will save you time and money in hiring the talent you need.  

About Sigma Recruitment 

We are ‘South Wales Recruitment Specialists’ based in Cardiff, Wales. 

We offer a full range of permanent recruitment solutions to many of South Wales’ and the South Wests’ leading manufacturing, technical, automotive and life science organisations. This includes companies in Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Ebbw Vale, Port Talbot, Bridgend and the surrounding areas in South Wales. 

Sigma Recruitment has one of the largest and most comprehensive recruitment candidate databases in the area. To get in touch with our team call us now on 02920 450 100. Alternatively, contact us here. 

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