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Talent Wars: Why Companies Must Fight to Hire the Best Talent

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Fraser Gough couldn’t believe his luck. Earlier this year, the 23-year-old, who works digitally in London with his marketing job, was asked by a recruiter on his website LinkedIn whether he would be interested in a job at payments company Clearpay. was inquired. It was an offer he couldn’t turn down, which brought him a 40% raise to his £35,000, a stake in his parent company, Square, and a series of perks. This included free gym memberships, paying bills to manage the costs of working from home, and the opportunity to work in San Francisco.

“I don’t even have a degree. “I’m going for another raise now, and I think I can get it.”

Despite steep inflation and the threat of a prolonged recession in the UK, unemployment remains low and businesses continue to hire, often paying huge wages. Some observers expect companies to cut back on spending and hiring in response to slowing demand for goods and services, but talent shortages persist across sectors ranging from technology to hospitality, construction and life sciences. increase.

“I don’t think anyone is prepared for a recession. The perks are still there and nothing seems to have changed,” Gough says.

A resurgence in the UK labor market since the height of the pandemic has pushed unemployment to its lowest level since 1974. Labor shortages have forced many firms to raise wages, offer greater benefits and offer greater flexibility, increasing inflationary pressures.

A recent poll of 1,043 managers conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) showed that nearly 90% said their organization will begin hiring in July 2022. Their company said it would continue hiring as normal.

“The UK has lost a significant portion of its workforce,” says Christin Owings, managing director and partner of The Boston Consulting Group.

Over the past few years, a decline in the self-employed workforce has coincided with many people retiring early, while others left work after long-term COVID-19-related health problems forced them to take unemployment benefits. I quit. The pandemic has also changed perceptions about work, with many staff embarking on new career paths and drawn to more flexible work that can be done from home. All of this has resulted in more than 1.2 million vacancies for her in the UK, according to government data.

Fraser Gough was poached by a recruiter for a job at Clearpay © Daniel Lynch/FT

“We are coming out of an unprecedented time with the pandemic, but we still have many of these issues,” Owings said of the environment facing recruiters. I’m here.

The trend is global. The eurozone unemployment number fell below 11 million for the first time and he hit a record low of 6.6% of the working population. Meanwhile, Australia has said it will accept tens of thousands more migrants to ease its labor shortage. In the United States, while the unemployment rate is rising slightly, there are still about two vacancies for every unemployed person. Wages are rising as firms compete for workers, firms are charging more for their products, and workers are demanding higher wages as a result. increase.

Employers pay bonuses and offer greater flexibility and career development opportunities while recognizing the time and money it takes to not only retain new staff, but also train them to replenish these people. to give employees more say in how the workplace is run. frequent vacancies. The pressure is so intense, one recruiter said his 15% of his compensation is a problem because many individuals who accept the offer end up not accepting it.

The rise of remote work has had knock-on effects for so-called “deskless” workers (workers who need to be physically present to do their job), which make up more than three-quarters of the workforce in most countries. increase. A global survey of 7,000 deskless workers found that more than a third of these workers are at risk of leaving their jobs within the next six months, BCG said. I discovered that This could have dire consequences for industries such as construction, manufacturing, healthcare, retail and transportation.

For Chris Timmins, managing director of East Midlands property developer Jessup Partnerships, the construction industry has seen a surge in demand for surveyors, land managers and estimators despite forecasting a market decline. shortage is an ongoing problem.

“It seems like there are 10 roles for each person. They have job options and we are all trying to get the same talent,” says Timmins. They are not only hiring to fill vacancies, they are also hiring to fill roles they may need in the future. “When the right people are out there, we have to try to get them. We expect it to work, and in fact we grow as a company in any downturn.”

Of the developer’s 96 staff, 13 are apprentices. “That’s a fair amount for the size of our company. But this is the market we’re in and we’re having a hard time finding talent. We’ve got to create our own.” During the crisis, companies such as Jessup are improving the benefits they offer to their employees. For example, retail store discounts, company car discounts, or allowing employees to charge their electric vehicles at work.

Companies that raise wages to their workers are burdened with ever-increasing bills. Rahul Sharma, who runs Indian restaurant The Regency Club in north-west London, said the 15% wage hike had already cost him more than $100,000 due to higher prices for meat, grain, fuel and delivery app fees. He said his tight finances were under further pressure.Restaurants have removed premium items from their menus to save as much money as possible. [increasing wages] It was to protect the position we already have and the staff we already have,” he says.

Having weathered the turmoil after the Brexit referendum, Sharma says the pandemic forced universities to close and prompted many part-time student workers, the backbone of his industry, to return to their countries. In recent months, he said, men have been waiting outside when the restaurant closes, trying to lure staff to work at other restaurants. “Our staff were being tracked home. They would be waiting in cars outside and the same cars would show up outside our staff homes,” says Sharma. Staffers are also attracted to low-impact, high-paying jobs, such as being a virtual assistant to him from home.

“The current situation is worse than during COVID-19 and there is no government support this time,” he said.

However, some observers point to the inevitable easing of time lags and tight labor markets.

Liam Reynolds, who runs the Silicon Milkroundabout, a twice-yearly job fair for tech professionals in London, said adjustments were being made in some parts of the industry. While money wasn’t pouring into startups, big tech companies were hiring less. “Many of these companies were overhiring because they had so much money,” he says. “Looking ahead, there is increasing uncertainty.” In the United States, many of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing technology companies over the past decade have already frozen hiring and cut headcount.

But Alistair Cox, chief executive of FTSE 250 adopter Hays, said the prevalence of digitization in other sectors meant companies could do everything from automation to cybersecurity for jobs they never needed before. He said it means he will continue to be employed. He notes the lack of qualified candidates for existing vacancies.

“There just aren’t enough of the right types of skills to match the jobs being created,” Cox said, adding that demand has been growing steadily for several years. “Even though the macro environment is deteriorating, companies are still going digital.”