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Attracting and retaining professionals in a post-pandemic world

By Gaelle Blake, Director, Hays Permanent Appointments, UK and Ireland

To say the pandemic disrupted the world of work would be an understatement. Overnight, our professional lives changed and, it’ll come as no shock to hear, many of these changes are here to stay. But what does this mean for both employees and employers, and what effect is it having on talent attraction and retention?

We surveyed over 1,500 employers and employees as part of the Hays Ireland Salary & Recruiting Trends Guide 2022 and found that 84% of organisations are planning to recruit staff over the next 12 months, the highest level of recruitment intentions for five years. However, 51% of professionals said they are planning to move jobs in the same period – the lowest number reported in four years.

Here, we’ll examine exactly what this means for both employers and professionals, and what you can do to increase your chances of making some great hires during this time of record-breaking job vacancies.

Think outside the box: upskilling and reskilling

Employers are currently facing an uphill struggle to attract the right people and tempt them away from their current roles. So, what can be done to solve this?

Firstly, employers should consider prioritising the reskilling and upskilling of existing staff. Our data shows that only 17% of employers say they are ‘very likely’ to hire people who don’t possess all the required criteria, but 46% say they are ‘quite likely’. However, these numbers should be much higher. So, when considering how you are going to fill vacancies, why not look at upskilling existing staff members, or consider hiring new recruits that may not tick every single box? Many skills can be taught and learnt while on the job and having an open mind to what skills or experiences are truly essential could be a game-changer for hiring managers. This is especially relevant to those seeking technology staff, as certain skills are incredibly niche and hard to find, limiting the talent pool even more in this tricky climate. If you cast the net a little wider, you could bring a highly engaged, dynamic individual on board who can pick up skills very quickly – something we’ve seen many companies do successfully in recent months.

Flexibility is the focus: remote and hybrid working

The traditional 9-to-5, in-office work pattern may have once been a thing of the norm, but after working from home for so long, many employees have come to expect a degree of flexibility. In fact, data from our Salary Guide shows that out of the 56% of the workforce who are considering a career change over the next year, over half (52%) are planning to find a role that offers hybrid working. The bottom line? Employers that don’t offer hybrid-working options are at risk of not only losing staff, but not attracting as many new hires, either.

Employers should also consider if any of their vacancies could be carried out remotely. Not only does it provide access to a wider talent pool that isn’t limited by location, but it also opens up opportunities for those with caring responsibilities, those who may have accessibility issues, or neurodivergent people who may prefer working in a remote environment.

The big picture: purpose and social responsibility

While salary and benefits remain important to professionals, our findings show that people are increasingly attracted to roles that offer a good work-life balance, and to organisations that prioritise their purpose, social responsibility and “doing good”. Staff volunteer days and opportunities to support charitable organisations are very important to prospective candidates, along with the sustainability strategy of a potential employer. Right now, businesses are offering higher-than-average compensation for some roles to secure new employees, but remember that salary isn’t everything. It’s about the big picture, which includes having a clear understanding of why potential new hires want to work with you, and what will make them stay.

For more insights and advice, or to find out how we can support your career or help fill a vacancy at your organisation, speak to one of our expert consultants today.

About this author

Gaelle joined Hays in 1999, and in her time with the business, she has led dedicated teams providing expert recruitment services for a wide range of sectors and professions. In 2018, Gaelle started her current role as UK&I Director of Hays Permanent Appointments, where she works with 800 Permanent Appointments consultants across the UK and Ireland. She helps organisations to find the talent they need to achieve their goals, and help customers to find the roles they need to move their careers forwards. In July 2020, Gaelle was also appointed as UKI Director of Hays Construction & Property, leading the 300+ recruitment consultants in the largest specialist Construction & Property recruiter in the UK.

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