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Three-quarters of businesses under threat amid global productivity crisis

Luke McKeever, CEO - Thomas International

Three-quarters (74%) of global businesses are compromising on candidate quality to fill roles faster as a result of economic pressures, according to latest research.

The report “The Talent Time Bomb: The Countdown to Transforming Your Talent Culture” surveyed over 900 HR professionals across the globe, and found that despite 81% feeling the pressure to get recruits to optimal productivity more quickly, over three-quarters (76%) believe hiring too quickly leads to a poor fit. But with low productivity costing businesses around $1.8 trillion every year, organisations cannot afford to hire the wrong people.

The research comes as HR professionals experience a deepening skills crisis, with nearly half (48%) citing that the skills shortage has increased as a result of the pandemic – 43% say they’re facing a soft skills shortage, compared to just 17% for hard skills.

However, while both soft and hard skills are equally valued, the report shows that there is a clear link between placing a greater value on soft skills and the ability to bring new hires up to optimal productivity sooner.

The research proves that in the past year, mean time-to-productivity is 7.1 weeks, rising to 7.92 weeks for those who value hard skills more highly, but falling to 6.61 weeks for those who value soft skills more highly​.

“Prioritising speed costs money down the line, delivers lower quality candidates, reduces team fit, and even overlooks those with potential. By moving fast, businesses are ignoring the impact on time-to-productivity and long-term retention,” comments Luke McKeever, CEO of Thomas.

When asked what three skills are needed most in the organisation over the next few months, 41% HR professionals cited being adaptable to change, rising to 43% when filtered by the group who value hard skills more.

However, when those who value soft skills more highly, this drops to just 25% – indicating that those who place a high value on soft skills are already benefitting from having more agile, adaptable workforces.

McKeever continues, “We’re in an economic downturn and it’s only going to get worse for HR professionals, who are going to face even greater pressure to bring employees to full productivity faster, while limiting the costs associated with hires not working out.

“However, given that rushing to fill roles correlates with a greater chance of a failed hire, prioritising speed to productivity over time to hire is the smartest and most cost-effective way for HR professionals to support their business.”

*Thomas International

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