During and after the global financial crisis, unemployment rates in the UK and Ireland rose significantly to over 8 per cent, with Ireland briefly going over 16 per cent. With limited funding available, businesses often couldn’t take advantage of the sudden wealth of available talent. Today, on the other hand, businesses face the opposite problem. Both countries currently have unemployment rates under 5 per cent, and businesses, particularly those in the startup sector, have access to significant foreign investment and a broad range of other financing solutions.
In order to become truly successful, businesses need to find qualified talent that has both the skills to build a strong and effective business, and the innovative attitude necessary to lead their industry. As the competition to find the right candidates grows more fierce, businesses are increasingly forced to find new ways to seek out the people they need.
Digital skills are in shortest supply
Foreign investors primarily work with businesses in the tech and financial sectors, and with startups. The UK technology sector, specifically, grew 2.6 times faster as of early 2018 than the rest of the country’s economy. Ireland, meanwhile, has enjoyed high levels of foreign direct investments since the beginnings of its economic recovery, resulting in similar issues in regard to its labour market. While precise figures aren’t available, it’s likely that unemployment figures for workers in these fields are significantly lower than their respective national unemployment rates. Essentially, that means businesses are left looking for candidates in an economy where only a handful of qualified individuals might be looking, and where most would only remain unemployed for a short window.
Businesses need to get proactive about finding the right candidates
In any economy, traditional methods of posting an ad on a jobs website, or listing an open position on your own business website are unlikely to offer ideal results. After all, the best candidates are often those who don’t need to spend time hunting for a job. When there is a profound shortage of candidates, this difference becomes much more pronounced, since those left hunting for work will often be those with the least qualifications. To get the people you need to grow your business and to compete against other top players, you need to go out of your way to find and recruit top quality talent.
1. Get active on social media
Young professionals, particularly those who work in the digital sector, are increasingly turning to social media to find work and build their professional networks. While LinkedIn is still the primary professional social network, Twitter has increasingly become relevant for businesses and job seekers. These give businesses a view into a candidate’s existing network, their influence in the industry, and their attitude in public interactions with others. It also gives businesses and candidates a chance to connect on a more informal level, which is particularly helpful for building connections with talent that may not be actively looking for work.
2. Hire candidates from competitors
While it’s a common tactic for larger, well-known businesses, less experienced entrepreneurs may lack the time or simple confidence to try to hire talent directly from their competitors. This, however, is a major missed opportunity. More than 50 per cent of workers surveyed in separate studies in the UK and Ireland indicate that they’re unhappy in their jobs. While some may still be unwilling to leave their current position for a variety of personal or professional reasons, most of these individuals are likely to be open to discussing a career opportunity. This approach vastly increases the pool of potential candidates, and greatly improves the odds of finding that perfect fit for a position.
3. Make use of headhunters
Many businesses, particularly small businesses, don’t rely on passive job listings to find candidates because they don’t know better. Rather, it’s because neither business owners, nor their staff have time to hunt down and network with the large numbers of candidates for every position. Many of these will also lack an internal recruiter or a human resources department, meaning that people responsible for finding great candidates often lack the skills to do so quickly and effectively.
A simple way to deal with this is to make use of a headhunter. Headhunters typically have large and well developed networks, and will often reach candidates that businesses would otherwise never have become aware of. They can vastly reduce the time investment required of businesses looking to hire someone, and can ensure that all the candidates you see meet the criteria you’re looking for without going through a large stack of random applications. This professional support, in conjunction with more active and broad networking through social media can ultimately make the difference between muddling through with whoever is available, and building an innovative, growth oriented team of skilled professionals.