Are you struggling to employ due to skill shortages?
We recently attended a lovely breakfast event focused on the development of 600,000 properties in the Midlands over the next decade. The event promised to look at how this is achievable and the challenges the developers will face and most importantly what impact it has on the wider business community.
It was hosted at the beautiful Wragges building in Birmingham (and may I say the breakfast and smoothies were a great touch… but that’s not the reason we attended – honestly!!). Being a Brum based agency and having clients in the sector we had a vested interest.
There were some serious discussions around the restrictions of planning and availability of land for development, but what really surprised me was the fact that the shortage of skilled workers and labourers has a massive impact on the development of such projects.
The big players such as CALA, Bovis and Barratt Homes confessed to really struggling to attract the talent they need, and to retain them to complete projects. I’m not talking about planners or quantity surveyors, i’m talking about brick layers, plasterers, electricians. It was really interesting to hear how this is a major issue, even for larger businesses.
A couple of things sprang to mind… We need to educate and attract people to the industry if we want to sustain the level of development we need as a region. It’s a competitive market place for the skills they need, so they HAVE to attract the best skills, as do recruitment agencies jostling for the best candidates to place in this sector.
This is where the power of your brand (and / or employer brand) comes into play… If someone has a choice of jobs at similar salary / location and responsibilities, why will they choose YOUR job over another?
(Or why would they choose your recruitment agency over another to put their trust in to help them find their next career move?)
It maybe one of the following;
- They believe they will develop / learn new skills?
- Great working environment / subsidised canteen?
- Flexible benefits package?
- It supports a flexible family lifestyle?
If you have all of these things you are only 50% of the way there because unless you shout about it (or encourage your staff to), potential employees won’t know and it won’t sway their decision to work for you.
Example scenario from the CIPD Guide:
Let’s take the imaginary case of two apparently similar (in practice, nearly identical) call centres. Both offer excellent training, flexible shift patterns, and plenty of other good things that people look for in their next job. But one has taken the trouble to communicate these clearly and consistently over a period of time. It has taken steps to build its reputation among the local community. It has made sure that what it promises potential employees – how it actually feels to work there – is pretty much how it really does feel, and that external promise aligns with internal reality. Its recruitment advertising and all the material an applicant sees contain the same messages and share a common look and feel.
At the end of the day, the two call centres still remain as they always were, nearly identical to each other. Any differences may be of style rather than substance, but that’s not the point. The point is that one call centre has pre-empted and outsmarted the other by painting a realistic picture of what it will feel like to work there. The real differentiation lies in the fact that the perception one has created is clearly delineated; the other is still vague and fuzzy.