The number of people looking for jobs has increased for the first time in 25 months following a slump in hiring across the UK. A consecutive three-month surge in job applicants eased starting-salary inflation to a two-year low, which still remains historically high.
These findings were revealed in a research by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) which shows that the increase in the number of candidates follows a sharp decline in permanent staff appointments.
The slowdown in recruitment comes on the back of economic uncertainty and delayed decision-making by firms. However, as technology continues to evolve at breakneck speed, businesses need skilled staff to develop and implement that tech.
For example – the UK government in its 2021 Spending Reviewhas committed to investing an additional £8 billion in digital, data, and technology transformation by 2025. This is a step in the right direction as it will enable outdated and inefficient legacy systems to be replaced, delivering better services and greater value for taxpayers.
However, this investment must be driven by the adoption of a robust talent pipeline that can effectively enable this transformation.
Why Hire Now?
The Economist provides an interesting insight on the current predicament of businesses across the globe –
‘The combination of a looming recession, high churn and the shifts in the supply of workers is exceptionally complex to manage for most firms. In principle, a well-run business could recruit strategically across the business cycle. In practice, even the certainty of a recession in 12 months’ time would not be enough to help firms fine-tune hiring. They would need to know the magnitude, duration and industry characteristics of any recession. Turning hiring on and off in response to subtle cyclical shifts is unfeasible.’
In the wake of an economic downturn, the first impulse for a lot of businesses would be to clamp down on hiring whilst assessing market trends and fluctuations.
Here’s why now is the time for organisations to cancel pause on recruitment.
Access top talent amid reduced competition
With a slowdown in economic activity, the overall number of job openings in the market tends to decrease. As a result, the talent pool becomes less crowded, presenting a unique advantage for organisations that are actively seeking to recruit top-notch professionals. By initiating hiring efforts now, companies can tap into a highly skilled talent pool without vying with competitors for the same resources. This not only increases the likelihood of securing the best candidates but also provides an opportunity to negotiate competitive compensation packages.
Align with evolving tech needs
During an economic slump it’s particularly important for organisations to invest in tech that helps improve efficiency and business productivity. Investing in top talent skilled in AI or machine learning for instance, allows businesses to automate processes and boost productivity.
Also, by capitalising on talent acquisition now, businesses can future-proof their operations, ensuring they have the necessary expertise to hit the ground running when the economy bounces back.
Sheila Flavell, COO of FDM Group believes:
‘With UK businesses remaining cautious about allocating budgets and spending on permanent staff, many talented young people will be missing out on exciting opportunities to kickstart their careers. This slowdown is happening at a time when tech companies are crying out for candidates with expertise in areas such as cyber, AI and analytics.’
Promote diversity and inclusion
Diversity and inclusion have become integral pillars of successful organisations. By actively hiring during an economic downturn, businesses can take advantage of the diverse talent available in the market.
Inclusive hiring processes that tap into alternate sources of talent can help organisations fill their specialist skills gaps. This looks beyond traditional sources of talent, such as universities and colleges, to underrepresented groups, including those with disabilities, those with extended career breaks, and those from low-income backgrounds.
This helps create a more diverse workforce, which is not only more representative of the communities it serves, but is also better equipped to tackle the complex tech challenges facing businesses today.
Additionally, a diverse workforce strengthens a company’s reputation, attracting a wider customer base and improving employee engagement. Utilising this opportune moment to build a diverse talent pipeline will pay dividends in the long run.
Capitalise on upskilling opportunities
During a hiring slump professionals seek opportunities to upskill and expand their knowledge base. By actively hiring, companies can tap into this pool of motivated individuals who are eager to acquire new skills and advance their careers.
Offering training and development programmes to both existing and new hires can not only enhance their capabilities but also improve employee loyalty and retention. Building a culture of continuous learning and professional growth will set businesses apart from their competitors, making them more attractive to both current and potential employees.
Strengthen the employer brand
The way companies navigate challenging times significantly impacts their employer brand and long-term success. Taking proactive steps to build out talent pipelines during an economic slump sends a powerful message to both internal and external stakeholders.
It demonstrates an organisation’s resilience, forward-thinking approach, and commitment to its employees. A strong employer brand attracts top talent, fosters employee loyalty, and helps create a positive workplace culture. By seizing the hiring opportunity now, businesses can strengthen their brand and gain a competitive advantage in the market.
Strategic hiring is key to success
While periods of economic slowdown may appear daunting, they also present unique opportunities for businesses to prioritise talent acquisition. The recent surge in job applicants, as highlighted by KPMG and the REC, signifies a shift in the labour market dynamics.
Organisations that embrace hiring during these times will benefit from reduced competition, access to a diverse pool of top talent, alignment with evolving tech needs, and a boost to their employer brand and future-readiness.
At FDM we have over 30 years of experience as a talent solutions partner and with our expertise we can help identify a client’s unique skills gaps and deliver bespoke talent solutions to fill those gaps. Our inclusive and strategic recruitment policies let us hire top talent from the widest cross-section of demographics and nurture Net New Talent through our Tech Industry Gold accredited training programmes.
We hire graduates, ex-forces personnel and those looking to return to work after a career break to build diverse talent pipelines that can be scaled at speed to meet the evolving digital requirements of both the public and private sectors.