Job vacancies booming and applicants now call the shots!

The number of job vacancies in August to October 2021 continued to rise to a new record of 1,172,000, an increase of 388,000 from the pre-coronavirus pandemic January to March 2020 level, with 15 of the 18 industry sectors showing record highs. This means that job seekers now have more opportunity to ‘shop around’ to find the role that suits them best, rather than just accepting the first position that they are offered. Instead of the situation where job seekers are in competition for vacancies, we now increasingly see that companies are in competition for job seekers!  

In order to attract the best candidates, the first thing you need to do is make sure you are advertising effectively. You should consider recruitment as a permanent process on a regular cycle, rather than just something that happens when a position becomes available. Make sure that your website has a jobs page which has general information about working for the company, including testimonials from your existing staff, and a description of the types of roles which may become available. You should link to this regularly in your social media posts, whether or not there are current roles available to fill.  

When it comes to placing job adverts online and in print, you will need to try a wide range of different options and make sure that you ask your candidates where they saw the advert – this will help you to narrow down which channels and publications get you the best results. You may also want to involve a recruitment agency for some roles, although bear in mind that this can be expensive! Another option would be to use government initiatives for apprenticeships, or to partner with the careers departments of local further and higher education providers to get direct access to current students and recent graduates before they start to look elsewhere for their first job!  

Once a candidate hears that you are hiring, there are a number of actions that you can take to make your business seem like a more attractive prospect than the other employers they may be considering. Remuneration is of course key, and your first task should be to review your pay and conditions to be as competitive as possible, perhaps considering throwing in a ‘golden hello’, relocation package, private health insurance, or loyalty bonuses tied to length of service. However, job seekers now also particularly value flexibility both in terms of hours and location, so you might consider offering the opportunity to work flexible hours, or give the opportunity to work from home. Some employers have taken this further and now offer wellbeing leave in addition to the usual holiday package.  

The brightest potential candidates often look for roles which sound prestigious and challenging. They know that job satisfaction comes from feeling respected and having the opportunity to learn new things, so you should make it clear in your job advert how the role can provide this. You should consider that you are selling yourself to them as an employer as much as they are selling themselves to you as an employee.  


For help and support with the practical side of dealing with new employees in your company, speak to our payroll department.