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Hiring staff to meet demand


Hiring staff to meet demand

Updated: 22 October 2021

Jack Kennedy, UK Economist at Indeed – the world’s number 1 job site – looks at some of the key challenges businesses are facing with recruitment and what you can do to find the right talent.

Demand for staff outstrips supply

The economy has rebounded rapidly from the pandemic, but demand for staff has recovered much quicker than the supply of candidates. The Office for National Statistics reports a record level of over a million vacancies, while UK job postings on Indeed have rebounded to nearly 30% above pre-pandemic levels. 

Many sectors have been hiring quickly, and labour supply has not been ready to meet this demand. As well as being much deeper and briefer than a normal recession, the furlough scheme prevented much of the unemployment you would normally see. 

The pandemic also reshaped the economy. Entire sectors were shuttered for months and some workers have switched industries, or dipped out of the labour force altogether, while more young people have chosen to stay in education longer.

Ongoing shortages in a reshaped economy

When the furlough scheme finished at the end of September, it was still supporting over a million people. While some of them may not have returned to their old jobs, their skills and experience may not be a good match for available vacancies. Older workers were the biggest cohort still on furlough, and they could have taken early retirement rather than looking for a new job. 

There are also fewer foreign workers than before, due to Covid and Brexit. The pandemic has also seen many people reappraising what they really desire from work and careers. For many people, the perceived value of leisure time has increased. That means fewer people are willing to work long or unsociable hours, and they will desire greater flexibility in when and where they work. 

Far from the unemployment crisis that many feared, the immediate challenge for small businesses is worker shortages. That’s set to be the main challenge for the rest of this year and probably well into 2022. 

Tips for hiring staff

  1. Look at the whole package you’re offering

Some employers have been raising wages and offering financial incentives to attract more candidates. However, not all SMEs can afford higher pay, and focusing on compensation alone may not be enough. Working habits and expectations have shifted, so if you haven’t considered issues like hybrid working, flexible hours, training and development, doing so and having a clear policy could help your recruitment efforts. 

  1. Stand out from the competition

Employer branding is also key to show prospective candidates why they should work for you. What are your organisation’s core values and what are you offering to staff to be an attractive place to work? 

  1. Review your job adverts

Is your job advert really selling the vacancy and your business? Think about your ideal candidate, what are going to be the most important factors to them in the current environment. Cover them in your ad, and make it easy to read and find the key information. 

  1. Look at untapped sources of labour

You can also think about tapping into pockets of people who could work right now, but aren’t looking. This includes older people, those with disabilities or health conditions, students and parents. That might involve redesigning roles in ways that give people the security, flexibility and support they need to get into and stay in work.

Jack Kennedy is UK Economist at Indeed, the world’s number 1 job site. Find out more at If you need finance to hire more staff, apply for a business loan online today.

The views expressed belong to the authors and do not represent those of Funding Circle. While we want to help as much as we can, the information found here is provided solely for informational purposes and should not be considered financial or legal advice. To the extent permitted by law, Funding Circle does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of, or reliance on, the information contained here. If you have any questions, please speak to your professional adviser or seek independent legal advice.

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