Advertising doesn’t always work – is there a better way?

We are seeing a significant increase in permanent job openings, however many companies are struggling to find the right candidates.

In 2021, there were many candidates available for work and not enough job openings, which was understandable given the economic challenges of Covid. However in 2022 recruitment is gaining momentum with lots more positivity and job opportunities, which wasn’t surprising many anticipated this. What may be surprising however, is that despite the high volume of potential available applicants in the market, many organisations are finding it difficult to recruit.

Whilst internal recruiters may have access to a lot of prospect candidates, very few good people in secure work want to switch jobs at the moment. Many organisations are therefore finding it increasingly difficult to attract the right candidates, to the point that many are realising that advertising simply doesn’t work.

When it comes to finding the best talent, or the right specialist skills what do you do? Advertising is evidently not working all the time so how do you ensure you have the right proactive search & selection strategy for the passive candidates in the market? More so than ever, recruiting the right person, the first time is paramount, so how do you win the race for the best talent and attract the right skillsets, if people are rightly risk-averse?

What is the solution?

Many factors attract people to leave their ‘safe’ secure role and seek a new career, flexible working, training, development, career progression, culture, financial and job security, to name a few. But none of these will matter if candidates are not aware of your company’s recruitment & career USP’s.

By getting to know clients and their requirements in-depth, we can really focus on the top-tier candidates for each role, whether they be passive or active candidates. A professional and informative approach and the fact that any hiring company have retained a specialist recruiter, gives a great first impression to candidates, presenting them as an organisation that allows serious candidates to want to find out more.

Most candidates seeking a new career move are now increasingly selective, so it’s important to position your business and the role correctly as you may get only one chance to make the pitch to your preferred candidate. Actively searching for the right talent match with the right promotional material, 360 capability assessment and other selection tools, also ensures candidates know they are a good fit, providing them with the confidence to make the move. This careful approach reduces the risks for the candidates and allows companies to access the best active and passive talent.

Good specialist recruiters know their market inside out. Through years of working with procurement & supply chain professionals globally, we have access to extensive networks of passive candidates seeking their next career move, most of whom will not actively apply to job adverts. Furthermore, they trust their preferred agents to be able to assess the right roles and represent them properly to ensure they are not lost in the recruitment process.

Hiring great talent does not got any easier, but we can help

Reach out for a confidential discussion and we can guide you through a range of innovative and flexible support options that will help you solve that challenge.

  • Contingent Permanent Search – fee on result
  • ‘Accredited’ Interim resource
  • 360-Degree Procurement & Supply Chain capability assessment – online testing to support the interview process
  • UK, US and International market expertise

 

No longer ‘remote’ but flexible & hybrid working is the norm

The challenges of working remotely are not proving difficult enough to change the direction of travel.

With hybrid flexible working the way forward, nearly 97% of participants surveyed favour blended hybrid home/office working and over 86% see hybrid working as the long term future of work.

Positively, over 57% are not concerned about returning to the office. However, it’s evident that office based working will now be on a planned basis, with the general consensus being 2 or 3 days a week, allowing more productive work outside of face-to-face meetings.

INSIGHTS:

Although the remote working challenges are relatively similar to our 2020 survey, twelve months later the concerns about social isolation appear to be reducing slightly (14% less) as working patterns get more embedded. The biggest issue is communication with colleagues, while online planned meetings and video conferencing can work well, the ability to drop in to quick conversations to solve problems can be difficult to plan remotely, so online chat tools are being increasingly used.

THE SOLUTION:

Better organisational planning, working from offices in a way that allows quality meetings to take place, when people can meet to solve business challenges, improve capability through training and gain more beneficial social interactions, whilst also benefitting from more time to work remotely to maintain increased productivity.

 

Returning to work with gaps in your CV?

Many people’s career plans were hit hard over the last 18 months, affected by furlough, redundancies or simply less permanent or Interim jobs available during lockdown.

We regularly talk with highly experienced people who are struggling to understand how to best present these gaps in employment on their CV’s and this can be a problem many people have never faced before.

How do employers view employment gaps?

Employment rates are climbing and more job opportunities are available, competition is high as people in work feel greater confidence about going back on the market. So, what is the best approach to cover gaps in your CV in a competitive jobs market?

Firstly, this can simply be a confidence issue, given what has happened over the last 20 months the age-old stigma of career gaps is being viewed much more sympathetically by recruiters and currently this is a ‘candidate market’ with more job opportunities than active applicants, which means in the short-term this can be to your advantage, so act quickly.

We have rarely seen anything like 2020/21, so this will not be a hindrance in job searches. According to the ‘International Labour Organisation’, an incredible 255 million jobs were lost globally due to the Covid pandemic therefore employers expect to see gaps in employment for this time period. 

‘What did you do, when you were not working’? 

Hiring companies will be looking for more information about what you did during any gap in employment and this is where you can turn the situation into a positive advantage.

Did you learn or develop any new skills? Gain new qualifications? Undertake any charity or volunteering work? Work as an NHS covid jab volunteer? Use the time to exercise more? Or become a home-schooling teacher to your children. All are incredibly valuable.

A few key tips to keep in mind
Be Positive

It would be easy to fall into the trap of discussing gaps in employment from a negative viewpoint. Try to take any of the positives that came out of the time, in terms of new skills developed and focus on these, which will speak volumes about your character.

Be clear about your availability

Immediate availability can be a big attraction to employers so make sure this is clear on the CV.

Be Honest

Recruiters are very understanding about employment gaps so don’t cover it up. Make sure you take the opportunity to sell your life experiences and self-improvement activities during Covid.

Employers expect your CV to present you in the best possible light, so take this opportunity to portray as many positive aspects about yourself as possible, whether its competency based or general life skills. After all skills are what all employers are after! Read

Most good employers will look past Covid employment gaps, so show how you demonstrated your resilience during the pandemic, either by remaining productive or seeking meaningful experiences which can tip the advantage in your favour in what is likely to become an increasingly competitive employment market.

 

We work with clients to find, assess and recruit the best procurement and supply chain talent for your business. 

Get in touch with one of our advisors to discuss how we can help you and your business stand out from the crowd. We partner with organisations in a transparent and open approach to ensure they have all the external market knowledge and information needed to make the right hiring decisions.

Predictions for 2022 and how did we do in 2021?

Here are the 5 predictions we made for the Procurement & Supply Chain community in 2021 and our view for 2022.

1) An Increase in ‘Permanent’ Recruitment   Correct

Our 2020 annual survey confirmed that over 54% of organisations planned to maintain or grow their permanent teams in 2021.

Although the start to 2021 was slow, after the spring, permanent recruitment rose significantly based around the need to deliver key projects such as; Cost reduction, widening the supply base, reducing supply chain risk, developing robust supplier management, improving supplier partnerships to support innovation, sustainability projects, improving spend analytics and supply chain monitoring.

We expect this positive view to continue in 2022, however the challenge for a lot of organisations is and will continue to be finding the right talent. From our current experiences, internal recruiters are struggling to fill strategic appointments as they do not have the market reach or candidate network. We are increasingly working with talent acquisition teams to help them leverage their brand with ‘hard to find’ candidates.

2) Growth in ‘Greenfield’ leadership roles  ✓X Nearly

There are a surprising number of organisations in the SME and Mid-Cap market who still do not have a procurement team, or have limited access to strategic procurement & supply chain leadership.

It was evident from our own experiences in 2020 that more greenfield leadership roles were coming to market. We expected to see more of these in 2021 with a focus on transformation, strategy and building new teams.

In truth, this was partially correct, however the continued uncertainties equally led to an increase in management consulting support delivering some of these improvement projects. We expect an upturn in ‘greenfield’ procurement leadership roles in 2022.

3) Changes to our work-life balance  Correct

For some, the opportunity of a better work-life balance moving forward is one of the few positives to take away from the pandemic. Again, there will be a different approach in each sector.

The way organisations have adapted to remote working has seen a fundamental change in the landscape, to the extent that some will never go back to the 5-day ‘in the office’ working week. However, there will be a need to balance this, especially as all members of the team need to consider mental health awareness, training, guidance and personal interaction, not all of which can be delivered by Zoom or Teams.

In 2022, offering remote or blended hybrid working patterns will ease recruitment challenges by widening the talent search parameters for many organisations.

4) More uncertainty in the short-term  Correct

The key learning from this year, even though we’re optimistic for 2022, is that we must not get ahead of ourselves too soon.

There is a long way to go in the recovery stage and Procurement & Supply Chain functions must continue to focus on preparation for the unpredictable and ensuring their strategies are robust and this will be as important, if not more so in 2022.

This may help the increase in Interim consultancy opportunities now the challenges of IR35 are understood better. These will either be directly with clients, or as part of established management consultancies who are building greater flexibility in their delivery capability with the development of Interim Associate panels, to flex their capacity when needed.

5) Functional Visibility & Value to grow  Correct

Prior to Covid, most procurement and supply chain functions largely operated in the background, only receiving limited attention in the national media, or people’s day-to-day lives. Now however, the nation has an opinion on everything from international supply chain risks, to public sector procurement.

This elevation into the national psyche requires business leaders to ensure they hire and keep the best talent, whether it’s permanent, Interim, or external consulting project support, to improve bottom-line performance, manage risk and develop the ‘sustainability’ future proofing strategies that consumers now expect to be visible as part of any businesses brand values.

 

As we bring the year towards a close, we wish everyone a healthy 2022 and the resilience to any shifts in the pandemic, to help deliver strong economic recovery and greater business opportunities. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE

 

The Future of Work Survey – download the full report

We surveyed an invited audience of over 3000 procurement, supply chain & finance leaders and their teams.

Although the survey was covering the entire UK, the results in different regions were almost identical, as such the report delivers some interesting Insights learned to help shape future recruitment and workforce planning in 2021/22.

With lockdown restrictions changing monthly there are obvious lessons to be learned from the remote working practices developed over the last 18 months.

It’s clear that the recruitment landscape has changed, several companies who had trouble recruiting due to their location, sector, salary challenges, have identified this as an opportunity, offering greater flexibility to new staff and there are others who are suffering due to the historical-cultural inflexibility, where office 9 to 5 working practices have been difficult to transition into new ways of working.

Some of the survey results have been startling, especially when it comes to how people wish to work going forward post-pandemic and also where prospective candidates looking for their next career move.

From the data gathered, there has been a clear shift in the ways people want to work, with 87% seeking hybrid practices with a blend of office and remote working. Also, when asked the question “If a company recruiting did not offer flexible working, would that alter your decision to apply to them for a future career move?” Over 82% answered ‘Yes’.

2022 will soon be with us and with the end of furlough and current lockdown restrictions there will be winners and losers in the challenge to recruit the best talent.

 

“If a company recruiting did not offer flexible working, would that alter your decision to apply to them for a future career move?”

 

Does flexible working increase your productivity?

Understandably many moved to remote working during lockdown and after the initial shock, there is now a view that hybrid working practices can increase productivity…

Over 50% of respondents to the ‘Future of Work’ survey already worked in a hybrid office/flexible way prior to covid, with a further 15% working entirely remotely, which reflects the agile and global nature of procurement & supply chain functions, with the need to work flexibly to visit suppliers and supply chain partners.

However, the hybrid model significantly reduced over the last 18 months with over 60% working fully remote (from 15%), which created the need for more efficient ways of working. This builds habits and has shown some companies the benefits if you have the right people.

INSIGHTS:

The key takeaway from the results is that although challenging, it has allowed for an increase in personal productivity. With the reduction of unnecessary travel, less commuting, and increased access and use of online data systems and video communication tools. In total, nearly 88% felt that productivity improved or did not change, which shows the resilience of the functional teams.

 

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