Brexit ushers in more competition for skilled staff

Employers are already reporting difficulties in finding suitably skilled staff. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Employers are already reporting difficulties in finding suitably skilled staff. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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Britain’s departure from the European Union is expected to trigger more competition for skilled workers, a study suggests today.

Three out of four managers believe competition will intensify in the wake of Brexit, according to the latest Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) and recruitment firm Hays.

Brexit should act as a stimulus to build a stronger, more productive workforce

Claire McCartney

• READ MORE: Small firms raise fresh Brexit fears over EU workers

Difficulties are already being reported, with almost a similar number of HR professionals encountering problems recruiting suitably qualified employees over the past year.

The poll of 1,000 people also reveals that more than half say their organisations do not calculate the cost of staff leaving, even though labour turnover is at its highest for a decade.

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Demand for professionals with leadership, digital and commercial awareness skills is most likely to increase over the next 12 months, the survey claims.

Claire McCartney, associate research adviser at the CIPD, said: “Today’s research highlights a mounting war for talent and the subsequent need for organisations to sharpen their focus on strategic recruitment and effective retention, to attract and maintain the skills they need in an increasingly competitive labour market.

“Brexit, and its impact on the labour market, should act as a stimulus for organisations to focus their attention on building a stronger, more productive workforce by staying alert to potential changes in their skill needs and being agile in their response.

“However, they can’t effectively do this unless they are measuring, evaluating and then strengthening their recruitment and talent strategies, based on a real understanding of their existing talent profile.

“Even the simplest forms of measurement can be effective, such as tracking the turnover rate of new hires, seeking feedback from candidates on their experience and monitoring the performance of new recruits.”

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Almost nine in ten organisations said they have been making efforts to improve their employer brand in the last year. However, despite this focus on attracting employees, about two-fifths believe the length of their recruitment process has led to the loss of potential recruits in the past 12 months.

Nigel Heap, managing director of Hays UK & Ireland, said: “As we move towards an EU exit, organisations should consider reviewing their recruitment strategies to help them secure access to the right talent.”

Scotland’s dominant industries are failing to prepare for an “era of profound disruption”. A report by Grant Thornton and business transformation consultancy This Is Milk says many companies have yet to recognise the cultural and economic shifts set to take place as machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation overtake service and people-based roles.

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