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Difficulty hiring staff hits a peak

The skills crisis shows no sign of slowing as employers continue to face difficulty finding the staff they need, according to a new report released by Hays, with 93% of employers say they have experienced skills shortages over the past 12 months, increasing from 86% in 2021 and 77% in 2020.

Simon Winfield, Managing Director – Hays UK and Ireland

The skills crisis shows no sign of slowing as employers continue to face difficulty finding the staff they need, according to a new report* with 93% of employers say they have experienced skills shortages over the past 12 months, increasing from 86% in 2021 and 77% in 2020.

The survey, which forms part of the Hays Salary & Recruiting Trends guide 2023 and received over 13,400 responses from employers and professionals, found that employers are continuing to increase pay in order to attract and retain staff, as well as being more likely to counter offer staff who hand in their notice.

Hiring plans stay steady despite economic uncertainty
Despite wider economic uncertainty, four out of five employers (80%) intend on hiring staff over the next 12 months – matching the same number reported on in the guide released by Hays last year which was an eight-year high in hiring intentions.

There has been a slight rise in professionals planning to move jobs in the year ahead, rising to 58% from 52% last year. However, this remains low when compared to the proportion of employers expecting to hire staff.

Employers need to work to find the skills they need
Positively, in a bid to hire secure staff and develop their skills, close to three-quarters (72%) of employers would be willing to hire staff without all the necessary skills and over a fifth (22%) have increased their training budget to focus on upskilling staff. Of respondents, 20% have also re-skilled existing employees into a new position and 21% said they are actively hiring staff from other industries or professions.

The need for employers to look outside their usual recruitment pools is ever increasing as this year employers cited that skills shortages have also had a negative impact on productivity (48%), employee morale (45%) and the ability to deliver projects (40%).

Rates of pay continue to climb
According to the research, over the last year 83% of employers have increased their employees’ salaries or rates of pay, compared to just 57% who did so the year before. However, over half (54%) say this is not only to retain staff but a direct result of the rise in the cost of living. Additionally, a greater proportion of employers offered staff a performance-related bonus this year (58%) compared to last year (42%).

Counter offers are also on the rise as two-thirds (66%) of employers always or sometimes make counter offers to staff as opposed to 51% last year. Despite this, only 29% of professionals say they would be likely to take a counter offer of better pay.

Simon Winfield, Managing Director of Hays UK and Ireland said: “There’s no denying that it’s a challenging time for employers as they compete to keep up with the rising cost of living for staff, economic uncertainty and an unrelenting battle for talent in the market.

Employers are having to increase pay to attract talent, but also to retain their existing workforce. Although the right salary is crucial, especially at this moment in time, I’d urge employers not to neglect other factors which will attract staff to work with you and, crucially, stay. This includes offering hybrid and flexible working if you can, making sure career progression pathways are clear and supporting the wellbeing of your workforce.

Employers also need to put in the effort to attract staff for the long-term by looking at the types of talent they can access, investing in their learning and development offerings, as well as hiring for potential.”

*report released by Hays

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