Handpicking the best talent in 2021

It’s fair to say that 2020 did not go according to anybody’s plan. Dan Kirkpatrick has put together a short review of the UK recruitment market during 2020 and offers some advice for 2021.

COVID-19 has, as we all know, caused tremendous challenges for many industries including manufacturing. These challenges have included job losses, making sites COVID secure (not the easiest thing to do on a manufacturing site), setting up both working from home policies and cover systems for when people are self-isolating and, for many, a loss of business and orders.

Despite all the above challenges, many companies have continued to recruit – and for many the recruitment process has had to change to include video interviews. I’ve worked closely with a couple of companies over the last few months who have taken the opportunity to revamp their recruitment process and it’s really paying dividends, with an improved candidate experience and higher percentage of accepted job offers.

Many job seekers are actually fans of video interviews. Feedback I’ve had from them is that it’s less of a time commitment to attend a video interview and that they feel they performed better as they didn’t feel as nervous as they would during an onsite interview. However, most candidates also said that they would want any second interview to be onsite if possible in order to see the company in situ and meet their potential future manager in person.

Flexibility is key 

So, what will 2021 bring for the UK recruitment market? I won’t speculate about the ongoing effects of COVID-19 or the potential lack of a trade deal between the UK and the EU and the effects this will have on the UK economy and recruitment market as there are people eminently more qualified to do so than me.

It’s clear that 2021 will be a challenging year for all but there are two things that I am confident will continue from 2020:

The war for talent – There’s still going to be a war for talent across a number of skillsets, especially within engineering and manufacturing due to a lack of people with certain skills. In case you missed my article in the October issue of The Manufacturer, some ways to help you position your business to win this war include promoting your benefits and employer brand, ensuring all applicants have a positive candidate experience throughout the recruitment process, offering competitive salaries and, most importantly (in my opinion), keeping and developing the staff you have. Please get in touch if you would like a copy of this article.

Continuance of work from home policies – I’ve spoken to a number of CEOs recently and nearly all were surprised at how well working from home has delivered for their business. Many of them have already committed to continuing with a work from home policy (most will be offering a hybrid approach of office and home based) if and when things return to some level of ‘normal’. LinkedIn recently undertook a survey of what is important to employees and three of the top five options are at least, in part, solved by having some option of working from home. Of those surveyed, 71% had ‘work life balance’ as important to them, 49% a ‘convenient commute’ and 38% ‘flexible work arrangements’.

Can your business get ahead and implement a formal work from home policy now? Can this help you win the war for talent among your competitors for those jobs that require skillsets which are in short supply? Even for those roles where working from home isn’t possible, I urge you to think about the above factors – keeping your current employees happy is key to winning the war for talent.

In addition, 2021 will also see the introduction, after a year-long delay, of IR35, namely off-payroll working rules for clients, workers (contractors) and their intermediaries. This is too big a topic for this article but if your business hires contractors/freelancers then please begin to look into it now as IR35 has to be introduced by April. We have experts at Hunter so if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I’d like to end on a real positive note, namely the tremendous resilience and innovation that the UK manufacturing sector has shown in 2020 – I am confident that this will continue to be the case during 2021 and beyond, no matter what is thrown at it!

More information from Dan at (dan@trusthunter.co.uk) www.trusthunter.co.uk


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