What do National Unemployment Statistics have to do with my Business?

Well everything, if you are trying to recruit.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) this week have released figures which show that 9.2 million people of working age are not in work and are not looking for work.

While I appreciate that it is their right to lead their lives the way they want to, the impact of this is that it is much harder for employers to find the right staff and as a result, salaries are edging up.

While we are still feeling the impact of both Covid and Brexit, we are also seeing a significant shift in what people are looking for from a job and an employer.

So, if your business relies on engaged, trained and / or experienced staff to keep your products and services moving, you need to take responsibility and decisive action and not blame the statistics, the economy, Covid-19, Brexit, the Government or your competitors.

As a business owner, you make your own success. It is up to you to change the way you do something if that something is no longer working.

So here are some key considerations:

  1. Position yourself as an employer of choice. Job applicants have a choice as to whether to apply and / or work for you or not. Make your business irresistible.
  2. Look at the job you actually need people to do. Is it interesting? If not how do you make it more attractive?
  3. Think about the way you write your job adverts. They need to attract the right people and put off applications from the wrong people. A job advert is a very specialist piece of marketing copy. Treat it as such.
  4. What does your recruitment process say about you as an employer? Are you assessing the right skills? Are you looking for attitude or aptitude? Are you leaving all applicants with the right impression, even if you don’t hire them.
  5. Who is involved in your selection process? Does the decision to hire just sit with you or do you involve members of your team? Do potential line managers or colleagues have a say?
  6. What is your offer? Many job seekers are now looking for more than just salary. What are the financial and non-financial benefits? What does the work environment feel like? How much flexibility can you offer? What training, development and promotion opportunities do you offer?
  7. What do you do to support the long-term unemployed back into the workplace? The biggest issues cited for economic inactivity are: long term illness, family responsibilities, early retirement and discouraged workers. How could you appeal to this population? Many people with disabilities want to work, but are unable to find an employer willing to take them on. What could you do differently?
  8. What do you stand for as a business? When so many businesses look the same, it is sometimes the ethos and values which job applicants buy into. What are your green credentials? What do you do for charity? What is your EDI commitment? How are these embedded in the day to day operations of your business?

If you want to recruit and retain top talent in an environment where over 20% of people of working age are economically inactive, you need to think differently. You need to do things your competitors are not willing to do. You need to compete against as little competition as possible by making yourself stand out like no one else in your industry does.

Don’t complain about the lack of staff until you have done something different to attract them.