16 November 2018 | By Simon Winfield Community

Hiring for the future

Hays' Simon Winfield shares insights for businesses preparing for growth in the years ahead – from the company's latest Salary Guide

Rapid advances in technology, changing dynamics in the workforce, and the speed at which ideas, news and trends travel today all mean that traditional methods of attracting and retaining staff are no longer sufficient. Employers will need a new approach to ensure they have the talent to drive successful growth for the future.

We recently launched our latest Hays Salary Guide and Recruiting Trends 2019, which includes findings from our survey of almost 23,000 people in the UK. It provides insights for businesses preparing for growth in the years ahead.

Encouragingly, the report shows signs of optimism, despite the ongoing political and economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit. 61 percent of organisations reporting that they expect their business activity to increase in the next year. 76 percent of employers also said they will be hiring in the next 12 months – the highest level of recruiting intent we have seen since our first survey, five years ago.

The effects of skills shortages

However, we can’t ignore that skills shortages are still prevalent in the UK across various industries – in all, 92 percent of employers said they experienced skills shortages in the last year, and 28 percent of employers believe they don’t have the talent needed to achieve business objectives.

The intensifying competition for talent has resulted in an average salary increase of 1.9 percent across the UK, and areas particularly hard hit by skills shortages are experiencing higher than average pay rises. For example, in IT, data architects saw an average increase of 6.2 percent, for database it was 5.6 percent.

In the construction sector, some of the greatest pay rises were for building services employees (3.2 percent), architects (3.1 percent) and commercial and operational construction professionals (both 3.8 percent). HR professionals such as reward specialists and talent and resourcing professionals are also seeing above average increases (3 percent and 2.5 percent respectively). 

Aside from having an impact on pay, skills shortages and competition for talent are being felt by the workforce with 49 percent of employers reporting that it is threatening productivity. 46 percent of employers also report a negative impact on employee morale and 41 percent say it is impacting their ability to deliver projects. This is worrying as it could undermine business growth rates, despite the high level of anticipated business activity.

The research also found considerable movement among professionals. 42 percent reported moving jobs in the past year and a further 40 percent had considered moving, pointing to a significant group of employees who could be tempted to change jobs if the offer was right.

Employees cite salary as the main reason for moving jobs, followed by career progression and 53 percent of employees feel uncertain about their career prospects. With competition increasing and wages continuing to rise, employers will need to show they can offer a positive future for employees if they want to attract and retain talent in 2019. 

Adjusting to an evolving workforce

Employers must understand the different motivations of the current workforce which holds a mix of Baby Boomers and Generations X, Y and Z all working together. Effective leadership and benefits, with an element of personalisation to accommodate different needs, is imperative in managing this new multi-generational workforce.

Employers will need to act decisively if they want to stay ahead of the competition, particularly when recruiting in highly competitive areas such as technology. Strong offers, not only around salary but also for career progression, work life balance and the other aspects important to employees will help secure the talent needed.

To request your copy of our Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 visit

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