Workers quit or changed jobs in their thousands during the so called “great resignation” of 2021.
Resignations reached record highs last year, but this isn’t because people left the labour force. Instead, they resigned in order to start new jobs at other firms or to set up their own business. In fact, the only age group where there has been an increase in people leaving the labour force has been among the over 50s who retired in higher numbers than normal during the pandemic.
Some reports have suggested that the rise in resignations was driven by individuals looking to make career changes, as they re-evaluated their lives after the pandemic. However, data from the UK Office for National Statistics suggest that the majority of people moved jobs in order to secure higher wages but the reasons for the current recruitment difficulties differ by sector. For example, the hospitality sector is suffering from a lower inflow of younger workers, whereas other sectors have been hit by the aforementioned early retirements.
Businesses are also struggling to fill vacancies as candidates have become more selective in regards to their next role and are now more likely to scrutinise the way businesses treated employees during the pandemic. The key areas that potential candidates are likely to evaluate potential employers on are flexible working, diversity, their attitude toward the office and their track record of redundancies during the tough times in the pandemic.
Remote working has also made it easier for people to participate in an interview. If someone is already working from home, they can easily block out an hour in their diary in order to attend a remote video interview via Zoom, Teams or Skype. This makes it much easier for rival firms to contact staff, which further exacerbates the recruitment challenges being felt by businesses. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of job vacancies from March 2022 to May 2022 rose to a new record of 1,300,000 which is an increase of 20,000 from the previous quarter. As such, the recruitment market would seem likely to remain tight for some time yet and businesses will need to be creative and structure a compelling offer in order to attract good people.