Author: Emma Baigey 

Hiring managers in the UK have their work cut out for them this year due to jobs being at a record high of 32.4 million – 1.6 million higher than pre-pandemic levels. With the job market becoming increasingly candidate-led, employers need to work harder (and smarter) to stand out. 

Rapidly changing workforce demographics are a significant factor in this. By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce. This demographic is known for ‘job-hopping’ and largely prioritises growth opportunities. With these new demands and priorities come new challenges for employers, who must adapt to meet their needs. 

Technology and remote work have also had a huge impact on the market, shifting the balance of power in favour of candidates. With increased access to job opportunities, jobseekers can now access opportunities globally. Online job boards, networking platforms, and job search engines have made it possible for candidates to connect with potential employers, regardless of geographical boundaries, empowering candidates to be more selective and choose roles that align with their skills and preferences. 

Plus, the rise of remote work has given candidates more control over their work arrangements. Candidates now have the flexibility to choose jobs that allow them to work from anywhere, making it more challenging for employers who must compete with organisations that offer flexible work arrangements.

These factors have culminated in employees holding more power than in recent years. Understanding their top motivations is the first step towards meeting them, which, according to Employ, Inc., are as follows: 

  • Getting more money: 34.4%
  • Ability to work remotely: 21.3%
  • Career advancement: 12.6%
  • Unemployment or fear of becoming unemployed: 9.6%
  • Leaving a bad manager or bad company culture: 8.5%

Companies need to implement impactful strategies that focus on these core elements if they want to stand a fighting chance at attracting well-suited candidates. In this article, we’ll focus on a few ways to do so.  

Prioritise Employee Development (and Shout About it) 

Investing in employee learning and nurturing skills internally is more profitable than sourcing new talent as it drives employee retention and loyalty. In fact, LinkedIn’s Learning & Development Report revealed that up to 94% of workers would stay at their organisation if they invested in L&D opportunities. 

Managers and HR teams can improve their employee development strategies using these steps: 

  1. Assess Current Skills and Needs: Conduct regular skills assessments to identify knowledge gaps and areas where employees need development. Using HR software to generate competency matrixes and monitor skills progression can be useful here.  
  2. Create a Learning Culture: Promote a culture of continuous learning where employees are encouraged to seek opportunities for growth. Recognise and reward employees who actively engage in learning and development.
  3. Develop a Comprehensive Training Programme: Offer a variety of learning methods, including workshops, online courses, mentoring, on-the-job training, and self-paced learning. Ensure that training programs are accessible and relevant to employees’ roles and career goals. 
  4. Set Clear Objectives: Define specific learning objectives for each training programme. Use SMART goals to clarify expectations and assess progress.
  5. Offer Regular Feedback: Provide constructive feedback and evaluations to help employees understand their progress and areas for improvement. Encourage open communication between managers and employees regarding development goals.

Offering Competitive Compensation and Benefits

With inflation and the cost of living crisis showing no sign of slowing down, maximising income is becoming even more important to the majority of the UK.  Jobseekers are prioritising salary over anything else, making this a necessary area of focus for HR teams and employers. 

But compensation doesn’t always mean salary. There are plenty of other perks and benefits that companies can offer to entice candidates and gain a comepetitve edge. In whatever form they take, incentives are vital for talent attraction and retention, so much so that 40% of employers believe workers leave their job in search of a role that offers better employee benefits. Company leaders should therefore focus on these four areas: 

  • Understanding Market Salary Trends: Stay informed about industry-specific salary benchmarks and regional variations. By keeping a close eye on market salary trends, companies can ensure that their compensation packages remain competitive and attractive to potential candidates. HR software can support in this area by providing real-time equity data to inform compensation strategy. 
  • Benefits that Attract and Retain Top Talent: Attracting and retaining top talent also relies on offering comprehensive benefits packages. These packages typically encompass health insurance, retirement plans, flexible work arrangements, and wellness programmes.  
  • The Importance of Flexibility and Work-Life Balance: Companies that provide flexible work options, such as remote work or flexible hours, not only accommodate the diverse needs of their employees but also boost morale and productivity. Prioritising work-life balance fosters a more positive and inclusive work environment, making it easier to attract and retain the most talented individuals who seek a balanced and fulfilling life both in and outside of the workplace.

Build an Employer Brand 

None of the above matters if you don’t communicate your employer brand. The power of this can’t be overstated; hiring strategies are rooted in having a clear brand identity. In fact, CareerBuilder found that 67% of candidates would accept lower pay if the company they were applying for had a positive reputation. This speaks volumes, considering that pay is the top priority for jobseekers. 

To build on your employer brand, companies can: 

  1. Audit your brand: Review what your employees are currently experiencing, their perception of your organisation, and their experience with your hiring processes. 
  2. Define your Employer Value Proposition: Deploy internal surveys and eNPS questionnaires to understand the desires of your existing employees, and choose those that align with your company values and mission. 
  3. Check your recruitment process: This is the first experience candidates have with your organisation. Ensure that job ads are enticing, language is inclusive, candidates are kept in the loop and that no one is left unanswered. Build a careers page that reflects your core values and celebrates your current team. 
  4. Optimise your onboarding processes: Give new hires the best first impression possible. You can’t underestimate the impact that word of mouth has on reputation and application rates. 
  5. Leverage employee testimonials: Gather feedback from your existing employees and shout about positive experiences on your social media channels and careers pages. People are likely to trust employees much more that recruiters and hiring managers! 



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