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Unemployment rate is stuck at 4.3 percent, lowest in four decades

Richard Shea

Latest UK unemployment report reveals that Britain’s unemployment rate is stuck at just 4.3 percent, the lowest in over four decades. Such a tight labour market might drive wages higher as companies compete for talent. Contributor Richard Shea, Managing Director EMEA Search at Futurestep, Korn Ferry

These recent figures yet again confirm strong employment growth across the UK, which is great news for companies and employees alike. The challenge, however, remains competition for the right talent with the right skills to get the job done is still rife.

Whilst not all businesses are in the financial position to offer substantial monetary awards to their staff, regardless of their desires, the good news is that, for the most part, employees’ expectations are shifting. This is particularly true in the context that British workers are conscious of an uncertain economy, not to mention the fact that Gen Z and millennials entering the workforce are bringing a different set of expectation in terms of their reward.

For one, money is not necessarily the most effective way of engaging staff with their role, and it needn’t be the most effective way to reward them, either. For example, it was a recent report for Vodafone which revealed that almost half (45 percent) of workers say their ideal employer would have a flexible working policy.

A change in expectations couldn’t be clearer with our Talent Forecast research revealing that the number one reason candidates choose one job over another is company culture. The need to stand out as an employer is paramount, and how employers’ sell themselves to potential candidates will be a key decision-making factor for future hires.

After all, a brand that communicates its true sense of purpose and how all of the organisation’s stakeholders, including employees, play a role in that purpose is and will be especially attractive to most prospective candidates. Rather than give a high-performing team a blanket bonus, why not create an environment to inspire workers based on their inputs?

Companies need to look at initiatives beyond financial incentives in order to attract the best. From flexible working schemes for a better work-life balance and increased holiday allowance, to robust career development programmes and creative working environments, employers need to communicate the benefits associated with their brand.

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