Employers facing scramble for staff

The bulk of UK employers fear they will not be able to hire much-needed HR and office support staff in the coming year because "skills shortages remain rife", according to a new survey.

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Conducted by specialist recruiters Robert Half, the research found that 85 per cent of executives harboured future recruitment concerns amid an intensifying talent war.
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The firm’s 2023 Salary Guide, which analyses salaries, hiring trends and skills requirements across the UK, also found that 31 per cent of hiring managers believed that the current, fast-moving pace of the recruitment market would hinder their efforts to attract the talent they need.According to the report, skills shortages were being exacerbated by evolving skills requirements across the admin, HR and office support functions, with more businesses requiring Excel and data analytics skills amid a growth in people analytics.Robert Half said that respondents revealed that roles for junior HR professionals were increasingly requiring tech skills and larger responsibilities "creating a potential drain of early careers talent across HR".

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Shelley Crane, the firm's Director for Marketing, HR and Executive Support, said: “Skills shortages are being widely talked about in remits that we expect to see a dearth of resources such as the STEM fields, but in reality, the effects of the war for talent are being felt across every function.“Admin, HR and office support staff have a critical role to play in keeping businesses running, but our data suggests that the current hiring landscape is making recruitment across these roles difficult.“Financial incentives can only go so far in attracting and retaining talent across these core operational functions."

DEI a gamechanger for recruiters

The data showed that 28 per cent of businesses in the survey were hiring new HR or support staff to spearhead efforts to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).Two-thirds of hiring managers agreed that businesses needed to be more transparent about their DEI activity to attract staff, with many HR professionals viewing a lack of openness as a ‘red flag’ when considering a new role.Ms Crane said that the research showed "clear evidence of, and commitment to, diversity has a clear role to play" in recruitment policies.She added: “We’re already seeing employers without a clear and concise DEI strategy and communications plan facing tough questions from candidates, and this will only become more commonplace as time goes on and younger socially aware employees join the jobs market.“While businesses may need to first recruit the resources to drive diversity and inclusion actions, those that are seemingly doing nothing at the moment will struggle. Any steps – no matter how small – to drive more meaningful and transparent diversity conversations will improve a firm’s attractiveness to this segment of the workforce.”

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