In January we launched our annual salary and benefits guide with a webinar Engineering & Manufacturing Salary & Benefits Seminar, for which our research suggested that 2023 would see several firms start to introduce recruitment freezes and even some firms, already running on borrowed time, redundancies.
We predicted that these would introduce some additional, much needed resource into the workforce, albeit nothing like what is needed.
During the Spring and Summer, the whole recruitment sector was plagued by candidates turning down jobs for pay rises to stay put, often for around +40%.
Candidates on the move continue to enjoy an average of 3 job offers to choose from, whilst clients have around half of the candidates to make their selection.
Yet some of our clients continue to grow their teams in quantity and quality with apparent ease, we have therefore tried to decode their tactics for hiring success:
1.Too few people to choose from due to a limited talent pool.
When we investigated, this problem was nothing new to these employers, they are typically involved in technology and the more cutting edge a sector, the fewer the candidates there are to work with.
What they have all become however is prolific networkers and collaborators. They are constantly involved in projects with multiple parties and build trusting relationships across a wide range of networks.
In addition, because they are familiar with candidate scarcity, they recruit against a set of values and competencies rather than pure ‘has-done, can-do skills’ in short, they find the right type of person and train them up.
2.Candidates not committing to a job offer as wanting to explore more options.
Trickier to decode, but what we did find is that these firms were more likely to be flexible and therefore more likely to tailor a role and working conditions to suit a candidate than their less competitive counterparts.
3.Bidding wars for candidates.
Again, not an easy one to understand when the mindset of many candidates was switched by the media from ‘job satisfaction to earn as much you can’.
These employers were however already considered progressive in their offer of flexible benefits (a benefits menu to suit people at different stages of life), they also already paid upper quartile wages, which were topped up by long term incentive plans, bonuses, and rewards. Some of which have since been migrated to actual earnings. All this remains underpinned by ‘healthy’ benefits like better than average holiday entitlement, hybrid working, shorter working week, social activities, self-improvement, and advancement opportunities and importantly a cultural match.
4.Being unable to attract your chosen one!
This is where these employers play their joker card! They all engage the whole team in the recruitment process and have candidates interview their peers and colleagues about ‘what working here is really like?’, forming bonds well before the final selection is actually made.
They also have a strong employer in the local area, typically supporting local clubs and societies, amenities, and charities. They are well known as good local corporate citizens.
5.Candidates declining formerly accepted offers due to more attractive alternatives and pay rises for staying put!
It’s fair to say that no employer has been immune from this happening in recent times but a combination of the above and a strong opening offer reduces the incidence of this occurring.
6.Jobs taking two or three times longer to fill due to having to re-run recruitment campaigns due to candidate fallout.
These employers are used to their jobs taking a while to fill because they a) operate in a world with fewer qualified people and b) have strict entry criteria based on cultural fit.
When all the above are in place, candidates typically join because they feel their values and sense of purpose will be met here above anywhere else, they may be offered to join.
Whilst remaining positive there is evidence that businesses that don’t treat recruitment as a one-off event have a better flow of talent.
In addition, those who continue to recruit in more difficult economic conditions not only get to pick from a wider pool of candidates, they also retain key staff through a greater sense of economic security.