Overcoming Key Recruitment Challenges of 2011 in the UK and Beyond

The UK is continuing to claw its way back from the knock-on effects of the financial crisis, with communities, businesses and the government all having suffered.

One of the major areas still in recovery is the recruitment sector. With hundreds of thousands of jobs lost over the past four years, workers are certainly keen to find employment. However, there are few openings available for them to apply for.

Where there are positions available, many are met by overwhelming scores of applications, making the process of getting a job -- and, from the company's point of view-- finding the right person, all that much harder.

The recession and financial crisis have also brought budget reductions, while spending cuts from the government have added to the problem.

Employment Figures

Recently, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) revealed that there had been a drop of 17,000 in the number of people without work in the three months to February, leaving 2.48 million unemployed in total.

Tom Hadley, director of policy and professional services at the REC, said: "Recent data ... may be encouraging, but the immediate outlook is that our jobs market will remain volatile and that we will not see any marked and sustained decline in unemployment until the very end of 2011."

One reason for it remaining fractious is that employers find the process of getting the right person for the role to be too time consuming.
According to research from MAXIMUS UK and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), recruitment processes are also too costly.

In a survey of more than 500 small and medium-sized businesses, throughout a host of different sectors, 80 percent said that hiring staff was a great challenge for them.

Furthermore, 40 percent of companies said that finding a new recruit cost them more than £2,000 (approx. $3,235 USD) while only three percent used a recruitment agency.

David Riches, Director of Operations at the BCC, commented on the most recent employment figures and said that "we must make it easier for companies to recruit."

What Can Be Done?

While it is easy to blame the environment around us, Oliver Spruce, from Brook Street (UK), recently told the Guardian that businesses can be proactive and take the lead when it comes to finding the best staff.

He said that talented employees all over the world are attracted by "dynamic, exciting, forward-thinking" employers, and it is important that a company exudes this image.

Furthermore, he advised hosting open days in order to meet prospective employees, which can help to show them what the business is all about.

Moving with the times, one way which firms can look to find the top talent is through social media and mobile.

It seems that every week, a new internet-enabled smartphone is released. With tablets and the other applications that can run these devices becoming evermore popular, this is certainly an avenue to explore.

Recently, Jobsite announced that it had witnessed a 200 percent increase in the number of job hunters accessing its site through a mobile phone.

It also noted that 8 percent of applications are now received from a person's mobile device. This means that businesses can now attract people while they are in a coffee shop, on the train or even enjoying a lazy afternoon in a park.

More businesses have also joined the stampede to social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter. These sites are free to join and post on, and many firms are taking advantage by seeking out applicants through this medium.

Sites like LinkedIn have also grown in popularity, having five million members in the UK alone as of December 2010, and with more than one million company profiles now on the portal, the scene is set for a social job hunt.